The claim that Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam was not formally invited to the enthronement ceremony of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito has been circulating on Facebook, Twitter and online forum LIHKG since Wednesday.
This claim is misleading. While the Japanese government did not extend a formal invitation letter to Lam, she was among the expected informal guests along with dignitaries from Taiwan and Macao, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In a news conference, Japanese foreign ministry spokesperson Masato Otaka said the formal invitation was sent to “sovereign countries Japan recognizes, the European Union and the United Nations.”
He went on to say that Taiwan, Macao, and Hong Kong are among “all the other cases” handled informally, and that their attendance was considered on an individual basis.
Citing a Sankei Shimbun article, democracy activist Agnes Chow claimed on Facebook that the Japanese government never invited Lam to the ceremony, mistakenly suggesting that she was an uninvited or self-invited guest (Lam was among the dignitaries who were informally asked to attend).
Her post has more than 2,800 likes and more than 1,000 shares.
Chow was also quoted in a LIHKG thread which had more than 1,700 likes.
One Instagram post with more than 24,000 likes implies that Lam should not have been in attendance.