Last Birthday Event for Outgoing Emperor Swamped by Crowds

Society

Tokyo, Dec. 23 (Jiji Press)--Tens of thousands of people visited the Imperial Palace to celebrate the 85th birthday of Emperor Akihito on Sunday, ahead of his abdication at the end of April next year.

Before the gate opening at the palace, a crowd of people waited in a long line to see the Emperor in his last birthday celebration event with the general public.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, over 57,000 people had visited the palace for the event as of 11:30 a.m. (2:30 a.m. GMT).

"I'm deeply worried about people who are still leading inconvenient lives," the Emperor said in a speech after mentioning a number of severe natural disasters that hit Japan earlier this year.

"I wish you a bright new year, all happiness and good health," he told the people.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press