Intellasia East Asia News – Japan’s Imperial Couple Attend Queen Elizabeth’s State Funeral Without Masks

Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attended the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, held at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, without wearing a mask.

The Imperial couple have worn masks at domestic events as a countermeasure against coronavirus infection. The latest decision is believed to have been made because not wearing a mask has become common in Britain and other people attending funerals should not wear them.

The couple wore white face masks as they departed Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on a Japanese government plane on the morning of September 17, and were seen wearing black face masks as they arrived in London. The Imperial couple also wore black face masks as they arrived at Claridge’s Hotel in London, where they would be staying.

Regarding the black masks, a source affiliated with Japan’s Imperial Household Agency said, “Perhaps they were referring to the funeral of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip.” Around the time the prince died in April 2021, Britons were still strongly advised to wear masks and funeral attendees were seen wearing black masks. Sources have also speculated that the Emperor and Empress opted for black face coverings because white masks are strongly associated with the disease overseas.

At a reception hosted by King Charles III and the Queen in State on the afternoon of September 18, however, Emperor Naruhito was seen without a mask. It was the first time the Emperor had been seen without a mask at a large gathering since the start of the pandemic.

Unlike Japan, very few people in London still wear masks.

At Claridge’s, employees wore masks when the imperial couple walked in and out. So did the couple’s local security guards. This is believed to be because the Imperial Household Agency told the hotel and others on the UK side that the couple would be wearing masks.

However, employees removed their masks as soon as the couple left the hotel.

As the infection situations are very different in Britain and Japan, it is believed that the imperial couple will continue to wear masks in their home country for the time being.

A source close to the Imperial Household Agency commented: “We wanted to avoid giving the impression that the Imperial couple are different from other attendees at the state funeral by wearing masks. We will continue to take stringent measures against the coronavirus. »

Category: Japan

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