The Emperor and Empress attended the award ceremony for the Japan Prize in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.
It was the first time in eight months for the Imperial couple to take part in an event outside the Imperial Palace, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The last such event they attended was the national memorial ceremony for the war dead on Aug. 15 last year.
The Emperor referred to the pandemic in his address.
“I hope that wisdom from various fields will be brought together and people from all over the world will join forces to overcome this difficult situation and build a future filled with hope,” the Emperor said.
The annual award organized by the Japan Prize Foundation is given to scientists and engineers who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science and technology. The ceremony this time also honored awardees from 2020 and 2021 because the pandemic forced postponement of the award ceremonies for the past two years.
The award this year was presented to three people. They include Prof. Katalin Kariko and Prof. Drew Weissman, who made joint contributions to practical application of mRNA vaccines for COVID-19.