Tokyo Games: The Olympic Games, which were postponed from last year, will begin on July 23.© AFP
Japanese Emperor Naruhito will attend the inauguration ceremony of the virus-delayed Tokyo Olympics, his office reported on Tuesday. The Empress of the Mass will not attend Friday’s event, as about 1,000 VIPs will be held without spectators at the Olympic Stadium, an official from the Imperial Houses Agency told AFP. Although the 61-year-old Emperor has no political power, he is an important symbolic figure in Japan. Last month, the prime minister ruled out that Naruhito was “concerned” that the Olympics could deploy Covid-19 – instead of giving his opinion to a representative of the agency.
Local media reported that Naruhito will declare the games open, but the official said he did not immediately know whether he would speak at the opening ceremony.
The Emperor, who took the throne in 2019, is the Honorary Patron of the Tokyo Olympics.
Members of the imperial family are unlikely to see other Olympic events, as almost all of them will be held behind closed doors to limit infections, reports said.
On Thursday, Naruhito will receive a courtesy visit to the Empire Palace, with senior officials from the International Olympic Committee, including President Thomas Bach, according to NHK public announcer.
The emperor will also receive foreign leaders and guests at the palace on Friday, the NHK said.
Naruhito’s father, then Emperor Akihito, proclaimed the start of the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, and his grandfather, then Emperor Hirohito, stated that he opened the 1964 Tokyo Summer Games and the 1972 Sapporo Winter Games.
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