Emperor Akihito delivered his traditional New Year address on Wednesday, reiterating his sympathy for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
"I was encouraged to see many people visit the affected areas and provide support in the wake of the East Japan Great Earthquake," the emperor told more than 78,000 cheering people who gathered at the imperial palace in Tokyo.
"I would like everyone to continue to keep helping people in the affected areas," the 79-year-old emperor said from a balcony where he was joined by Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino, Princess Kiko and Prince Mikasa (the emperor's 97-year-old uncle).
The imperial family made five appearances -- at 10:10 a.m., 11 a.m., 11;50 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:20 p.m.
The emperor said he hopes that 2013 will be a year of prosperity and good health for the people of Japan and also wished for peace around the world.© AFP/Japan Today