Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before there is some enormous rain storm, I just wanted to say how delighted to be back in Japan on the occasion of His Majesty The Emperor’s Enthronement Ceremony.
If I may say so, having attended the Enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Akihito almost thirty years ago, it is a particular privilege to be here at such an auspicious time and to be able to play my part in acknowledging this historic moment for Japan, as you begin a new Imperial era with the Enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito. That this major national event – which, if I may say so, has been quite brilliantly organised – should be taking place in the midst of the Rugby World Cup is, it seems to me, a rather remarkable testament to Japanese organisational prowess – as well as being rather serendipitous for those of us who wanted to wish our teams well!
I know that all of these meticulous plans have been sorely tested over the past few weeks by the impact of that terrible Typhoon Hagibis, which struck these islands with such terrifying force. The resilience of the Japanese people was as evident as it was admirable; as, indeed, was the skill and dedication of the emergency services. I did just want to take this opportunity to say how deeply my wife and I feel for all those whose lives were so cruelly affected by the storm and, in particular, how our hearts go out to those whose loved ones were so tragically taken from them.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Japan and the United Kingdom, as two Island nations, enjoy a close and special bond, drawing on our common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Above all, it is the ties between our people that bind us closely together. We do business together which makes a profound difference to each of our economies. Hundreds of thousands of us visit each other’s countries every year – and, in so doing, fall in love with each other’s culture, history and landscapes. Importantly, thousands of our young people travel in each direction to study, just as the Emperor and Empress did themselves at Oxford University. Through all of these connections, the U.K. and Japan are partners in almost every sphere of activity – and we are both stronger, more secure and more prosperous for it. But we will only be stronger, more secure and more prosperous if, as I hope and pray, we can work together ever more closely on tackling the dangerously existential threat of accelerating climate change through, for instance, investing in rapid decarbonization of the global economy and through a transition to a circular economy that operates in harmony with Nature’s own economy. Such a partnership could surely see a combination of innovative Japanese and British technology and engineering – currently often under-capitalized – helping to provide alternative, low carbon solutions to the crisis we face. Apart from anything else, ladies and gentlemen, millions and millions of young people around the world are desperately demanding urgent, and I say urgent action to tackle a real climate emergency…
I know that so many of you here today embody these connections between us – from business to the arts, from fashion to science – and I can only say how much I have enjoyed meeting each of you and hearing about the remarkable things you are doing in support of the relationship between our countries. I could hardly be more grateful to you for those utterly essential efforts and, at the start of this new era for Japan, I can only hope that the myriad connections between our two countries will continue to grow and to strengthen. As they do, they will always have as their foundation the profound mutual respect and deep affection that the people of the United Kingdom and the people of Japan hold for each other. For my part, it is a friendship which I cherish, and which I am delighted to have this opportunity to renew for the years ahead. Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen.