On the afternoon of January 1, 2016, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan accompanied by Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko along with their two daughters, Princess Mako and Princess Kako, hosted New Year Greetings at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Guests in attendance during today’s event included the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, accompanied by his Cabinet members, the heads of the Diet’s two chambers and the chief justice of the Supreme Court as well as ambassadors including the United States Ambassador to Japan, Ms. Caroline Kennedy.
Earlier in the day, the Imperial Household Agency published Emperor Akihito’s New Year reflections:
“As last year was the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, it was a year in which many of us spent much time thinking about the war. In welcoming the new year, I would like to renew my prayer for peace both for our country and our people.
It will soon be five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and it pains me to think that there are still people who cannot return to the places they used to live and those who must endure the hardships of living in temporary housing. I hope that these people will take good care of their health through the cold winter, and that further progress will be made in the recovery of the afflicted areas.
Our country Japan is indeed blessed with beautiful nature, but at the same time, we are prone to natural disasters. It is my sincere hope that each and every Japanese cultivate an awareness of disaster prevention and continue to look out for each other and be prepared to protect themselves at all times.
May the new year bring happiness to the people of our country and the people around the world.