Empress Masako Turns 56

Empress Masako turns 56

Japan's Empress Masako has expressed appreciation on her 56th birthday for the people's warmth in celebrating Emperor Naruhito's enthronement earlier this year.

The Imperial Household Agency released a written statement by the Empress on Monday.

The Emperor ascended the throne on May 1, and the Imperial couple recently conducted a series of ceremonies and events linked to the enthronement.

The Empress said she feels relieved and pleased that they were completed without any problems, and that she was able to join him in each event thanks to his support.

She expressed gratitude for what she described as the unexpectedly warm congratulations extended by so many people since the enthronement.

She cited examples of the couple greeting well-wishers at the Imperial Palace in May and their motorcade procession in central Tokyo in November.

The Empress said she will keep as priceless memories the smiles of the many people she met in various parts of the country. She said these memories will greatly support her in the future.

She said she has a renewed wish that along with the Emperor, she will always pray for the happiness of the people and try to stand by them.