Japanese Emperor, Akihito turns 78
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Last Updated: Friday, December 23, 2011, 15:34
Tokyo: Japanese Emperor Akihito expressed concern and support for people who have been affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, reflecting on the past year on the occasion of his 78th birthday Friday.

2011 has been "a truly distressing year, dominated by disasters," the emperor said in a statement released through the Agency.

Expressing concern about the health of people, especially the elderly, who still live under severe conditions in disaster-hit areas, the emperor said, "It has been encouraging to note that the people in the afflicted areas are enduring the harsh conditions in evacuation and that many people are volunteering to support the victims."

"I feel that the Japanese people have come together as a nation to squarely face the disaster and do what they can to be of help for the victims," he added.

The emperor, who was admitted to hospital on November 6 and received treatment for bronchial pneumonia for more than two weeks, also said, "I would like to express my gratitude to all the people for their concern and compassion regarding my health."

"I shall take good care of my health as I resume my work from now on through various events related to the coming of the New Year."

Noting that 70 years have passed since the outbreak of the Pacific War that broke out in 1941, the emperor reiterated hope for peace.

"Now that the memories of the war have started to fade, I think it is extremely important for everyone to study time and again the course of history Japan has followed and to reflect on peace."

The emperor usually holds a customary prebirthday press conference, but he only released the statement this year in consideration of his health condition, according to the agency.

In an address to about 11,550 well-wishers who visited the Imperial Palace for the first of his three appearances slated for Friday, the emperor said the imperial family will never forget about victims of disasters, also including those affected by torrential rains this year.


First Published: Friday, December 23, 2011, 15:34

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