Reception Hosted by the Consul-General of Japan in Queensland in Honour of the Birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan
Chief Justice; Your Honours; parliamentarians and councillors; Members of the Consular Corps; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour and pleasure that Kaye and I join join you in celebrating the birthday of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. We thank Consul-General, Ms Keiko Yanai, for the very kind invitation to join you for this important occasion.
All those with a close interest in Japan – and that is an apt description of everyone attending this evening – know that, earlier in the year, the National Diet approved legislation that enables His Majesty to step down from the throne.
This follows His Majesty’s expression of concern, in an earlier public broadcast, that his health and advancing years could restrict his future capacity to perform his duties. His Majesty’s words and sentiments were, of course, another manifestation of his devotion to the well-being of the Japanese people.
This is all the more reason for us to join with the Japanese people in celebrating His Majesty’s birthday on the twenty-third of December this year.
Like Her Majesty the Queen, whom I have the great honour to represent in Queensland, His Majesty has been and remains a symbol of continuity in a rapidly changing world, a source of pride, of reassurance and, when misfortune strikes, of solace to his people.
His Majesty is certainly, for us, a symbol of the strong, long-standing, and greatly beneficial relationship between Queensland and Japan, and Australia and Japan, based on mutual respect, shared values, and complementary strengths.
That relationship is nurtured by those attending tonight’s celebration, and by many others in Queensland.
As Governor of Queensland, I thank all those who strive with great dedication on behalf of this vital bilateral relationship.
Prominent among them are His Excellency Ambassador Kusaka – whom Kaye and I were honoured to host at Government House earlier this year; the staff of the Japanese Embassy in Canberra; and, closer to home, Consul-General Yanai, and the staff of the Consulate-General in Brisbane, for their ever-generous hospitality to us all. We all value and appreciate their tireless work in strengthening bilateral ties.
We join the Japanese community in Queensland this evening in expressing our best wishes to His Majesty on the occasion of his birthday, and our best wishes for His Majesty, the Imperial Family, and the people of Japan in the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it give me enormous pleasure to now ask you to join me in a toast to His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Japan.
(Response: The Emperor of Japan)