Emperor Akihito is delivering his annual New Year greetings to the public at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Wednesday. It is the last time the Emperor and Empress Michiko will greet well-wishers before he abdicates in April. More than 30,000 people were waiting outside the main gate when it opened at 9:15 AM.
More than 30,000 people were waiting outside the main gate when it opened at 9:15 AM. The number was far larger than the previous year. The Emperor and other members of the Imperial family waved to the crowd from the palace’s balcony three times before noon.
The Emperor said he was pleased to celebrate the New Year with the people under clear skies. He expressed hope that this year will be a good one for everyone. He said he is praying for peace and happiness for people in Japan and around the world.