Off to see the Emperor

Waving flags greeting the Emperor upon his emergence on the perch
Waving flags greeting the Emperor upon his emergence on the perch
TOKYO (TR) – Emperor Akihito yesterday gave his annual New Year’s greeting from a balcony at the Imperial Palace to a reported crowd of 74,000 people.

“I am truly delighted that we are able to celebrate a new year together,” said the 75-year-old.

Shouts of “Banzai!” and a sea of waving flags greeted the Emperor upon his emergence on the perch. Also appearing to wave to the assembled throng was his wife, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako.

The Emperor’s speech also touched upon the economic crisis now gripping the nation. “I am concerned for the many people who are welcoming the new year amid suffering because of the tough economic times,” he said.

Assembling crowds
Assembling crowds
A few right-wingers
A few right-wingers
Security at Sakurada-mon
Security at Sakurada-mon
"Happy New Year!"
“Happy New Year!”
Officer in nice suit
Officer in nice suit
"This way! This way!"
“This way! This way!”
"That sure was a short speech."
“That sure was a short speech.”
More assembled crowds
More assembled crowds
Looking for swimming foreigners
Looking for swimming foreigners
A real stand-up guy
A real stand-up guy
What are you looking at?
What are you looking at?
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