The IHA also released His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan’s New Year speech. Here is what the emperor had to say:
“A third winter since the Great East Japan Earthquake has come around. At the dawn of the new year, my heart once again goes out to the afflicted people, those who cannot return to the places they used to live because of radioactive contamination and those who have to spend the cold harsh winter in temporary housing.
Last year, too, many people were confronted with various difficulties and I am sure they faced many hardships. In this new year, it is my hope that the people of Japan not forget the plight of those who are facing hardships and try to share even a little of their burden, and help and comfort one another at all times. I also hope that they will work together with the people of the world in pursuit of peace and do their utmost to build a better tomorrow.
In this season of deep snow, I want to ask people to take great care not to have any accidents in removing snow from the roof.
It is my hope that the new year will bring happiness to the people of Japan and the people around the world.”
And, finally, in the evening Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan accompanied by Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan, and other members of the imperial family hosted a New Year reception held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.