National Day Online Event to mark the Birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on 26 February 2021

On 26 February 2021, the Embassy of Japan in the UK held a National Day Event to mark the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the event was broadcast online. It was hosted by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United Kingdom, Hajime Hayashi and Mrs. Hayashi. More than 500 guests participated in the event, including Japanese and British people involved in Japan-UK relations, Government representatives, Members of Parliament, Ambassadors and High Commissioners as well as other representatives of the diplomatic corps.  

In the first half of the event, following the national anthems of Japan and the UK sung by the King’s Singers, a globally renowned British a cappella group, Ambassador Hayashi congratulated His Majesty the Emperor on his 61st birthday. Ambassador Hayashi said that this was the right moment for promoting relations between Japan and the UK, and outlined four major milestones (listed below) for doing so. He mentioned that all Embassy staff and himself committed to working towards this goal and looked forward to the cooperation and support of everyone.
  1. New leap in Japan-UK economic relations following BREXIT and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU
  2. Further enhancement of Japan-UK cooperation on global issues, for example through G7 and COP26
  3. Strong commitment on both sides to promote security and defence cooperation between Japan and the UK.
  4. Acceleration of cultural and people-to-people exchanges between Japan and the UK   including the continuation of “The Japan-UK Season of Culture”
Minister Nigel Adams, Minister of State for Asia gave a speech in which he looked back how the two countries have been deepening their cooperation through the Japan-UK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, tackling COVID-19 pandemic, the G7 process under the UK presidency this year, and Japan-UK Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting (“2+2”), wished the best of luck for the successful Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and expressed his willingness in further strengthening of the bilateral relations through the close cooperation with Ambassador Hayashi. In response to the greeting from Minister Adams, Ambassador Hayashi expressed his gratitude for Minister Adams’s strong commitment to strengthening relations between Japan and the UK, and said he looked forward to working closely with him to that end.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, as patron of The Japan Society, congratulated His Majesty the Emperor of Japan on the occasion of his 61st birthday. His Royal Highness praised His Majesty for his sophisticated international outlook and said that His Majesty is likely to have a reign known for its achievements in international cooperation at every level. His Royal Highness said that His Majesty’s courtesy and charm makes him welcome and popular everywhere he goes. A toast then followed.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March 2011, the King’s Singers who opened the event, performed “Hana wa saku – Flowers Bloom” arranged by themselves. This was an opportunity to think about the great strides that had been made in reconstruction and revitalisation of the affected areas and the generous support from the UK.

In the later half of the event, while introducing “The Japan-UK Season of Culture”, with the cooperation and support of the Japan Sake And Shochu Makers Association, a mini-seminar (how to choose sake, pairing with food, etc) was held by experts who are prominent in the world of sake and shochu.

The Embassy of Japan