The widow of the Foreign Ministry diplomat killed on May 28 in a stabbing attack in Kawasaki's Tama Ward received words of sympathy from Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko.

Imperial Household Agency officials on May 30 explained that the sympathy message was passed on to the widow through Takeo Akiba, the vice foreign minister. Agency officials also said the imperial couple were deeply saddened at the large number of children who were victims in the attack.

Satoshi Oyama, 39, was killed when Ryuichi Iwasaki, 51, went on the stabbing rampage that led to the death of an 11-year-old girl and injuries to 17 others, 16 of whom were elementary school students.

An expert in the Myanmar language, Oyama had served as an interpreter on four separate occasions for Akihito and Michiko when they were still emperor and empress.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the first time Oyama interpreted for the imperial couple was in December 2013 when the leaders of ASEAN members and their wives were invited for tea at the Imperial Palace.

Oyama also interpreted at a February 2015 luncheon for ambassadors and their spouses in Tokyo; at an audience in April 2015 prior to the departure from Japan of the Myanmar ambassador; as well as another tea in July 2015 at the Imperial Palace for visiting foreign leaders attending a meeting in Tokyo for nations in the Mekong region.

Akihito and Michiko have frequently extended words of sympathy when individuals they have come into contact with during their public duties have died or to victims of a major accident.

One example involved the July 1999 stabbing death of the pilot of an All Nippon Airways domestic flight that had been hijacked. After the 2016 terrorist attack on a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that left seven Japanese dead, the imperial couple had a close aide transmit words of sympathy to the bereaved family members of the victims as well as those who were injured.