Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attended an awards ceremony for an environmental prize in Tokyo on Friday.
The annual MIDORI Academic Prize is awarded by the prime minister to individuals who have outstanding academic achievements in the fields of botany and environmental conservation to their credit.
This year’s winners were Takeuchi Kazuhiko, Project Professor at the University of Tokyo, and Tabata Satoshi, director of the Kazusa DNA Research Institute.
Takeuchi was recognized for research aimed at fostering harmony between humans and nature, and his contribution to environmental conservation and enhancement.
Tabata was credited for his pioneering work in the field of plant-genome science and for promoting sustainable agricultural-production technology.
Other individuals and groups were given awards for activities boosting the natural environment in their communities.
During the ceremony, the Emperor noted that the pandemic had brought changes to people’s lives and society at large. He said it is important to think about ways to protect and nurture the natural environment in light of its fundamental importance to human life and society.
The Imperial couple took on the task of attending the ceremony following the abdication of Emperor Emeritus Akihito in 2019. It was the first time the Emperor and Empress were present in person at the event, as it was canceled last year due to the coronavirus.