• Kyodo

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Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko, as well as four other senior members of the imperial family, received coronavirus vaccinations Tuesday in Tokyo, sources close to the matter said, marking the first confirmed inoculations among the royals.

The former emperor, 87, and former empress, 86, were given the shots at their residence, the Sento Imperial Palace, as the country’s inoculation program targeting people age 65 and older was launched in April.

Prince Hitachi, 85, the younger brother of Emperor Emeritus Akihito; his wife Princess Hanako, 80; Princess Nobuko, 66, widow of the late Prince Tomohito of Mikasa; and Princess Hisako, 67, widow of the late Prince Takamado, were inoculated at the Imperial Household Hospital on the grounds of the Imperial Palace, the sources said.

The 97-year-old Princess Yuriko, the oldest member of the country’s imperial family and widow of the late Prince Mikasa, is also eligible, but whether she will receive the shot will be decided after taking into account her wishes, according to the sources.

The Imperial Household Agency said in May it will not make public the vaccination status of the imperial family members, as it concerns personal information.

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