Emperor's Birthday Reception 2024






On 27 and 28 February, Ambassador and Madame Hayashi hosted a reception at the Embassy of Japan in the UK on the occasion of His Majesty the Emperor's Birthday.

The event was attended by over 300 guests over the two days, including senior British Government officials such as The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and The Rt Hon Lord Cameron, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs; various Members of Parliament, including The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, former Prime Minister of the UK; The Rt Hon Lord Reed of Allermuir, President of the Supreme Court, and judicial experts; relatives of the British Royal Family; Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the Defence Staff, and military officers; Ambassadors and High Commissioners of the diplomatic corps; Mr Bill Emmott, the Chairman of the Japan Society of the UK, and members of Japan-UK exchange-related organisations as well as individuals involved in academia, culture, sports, media, and business.

The reception commenced with a rendition of the national anthems of Japan and the UK, performed by the choir of Merton College, Oxford, followed by an address from Ambassador Hayashi. In his speech, the Ambassador first extended his congratulations to His Majesty the Emperor on the occasion of His Majesty’s 64th birthday. He reflected on the exchange of messages of sympathy between His Majesty the Emperor and His Majesty King Charles III regarding the Noto Peninsula Earthquake that struck on New Year’s Day and on His Majesty the King’s announcement that he was undergoing treatment for cancer. The Ambassador remarked that the exchanges of warm and supportive messages between Their Majesties demonstrated that the Japanese Imperial Family and British Royal Family stood with each other both at times of joy and on heart-breaking occasions and that they reflected the warm bonds between the people of our two countries.

Ambassador Hayashi also highlighted the fact that, despite the serious challenges faced by the international community, last year was also a rich and rewarding one with numerous landmark developments for the Japan-UK partnership. He reflected on the cooperation between the British and Japanese Governments, parliamentarians and judicial experts, and on the strengthened collaboration and increased investment between Japanese and British companies in both directions, as well as on the social and cultural activities between the two countries. The Ambassador then called for the support of all guests in further bolstering the Japan-UK partnership in 2024.

On 27 February, congratulatory remarks were also offered by Chancellor Hunt, Lord Cameron and Admiral Radakin, who all emphasised the commonalities and depth of cooperation between Japan and the UK, sharing personal anecdotes related to their experiences related to Japan. On the following day, 28 February, warm greetings were extended by both Mr Bill Emmott, the Chairman of the Japan Society of the UK, and Lady Elizabeth Cortazzi. They touched upon the long and deep history of exchanges between the Japanese Imperial Family and the UK, and expressed their hopes for the further development of the Japan-UK friendship. Additionally, a video message by Japanese footballer Kaoru Mitoma of Brighton & Hove Albion FC was displayed.

The reception also featured booths showcasing specialities from various Japanese regions, made available through the cooperation of local governments, businesses and related organisations, as well as displays of ikebana and bonsai, and a demonstration of chado (The Way of Tea). Guests enjoyed Japanese sake, wine and cuisine, availing themselves of the opportunity to savour something of what Japan has to offer.

Following the success of the Emperor's Birthday Reception, the Embassy of Japan in the UK is committed to continuing its efforts to advance Japan-UK relations this year.