Japan’s Emperor Akihito released his New Year’s message on Wednesday. He reveals deep concern for people affected by the 2011 disaster.
The Emperor cited those who cannot return home due to radioactive contamination. He also mentions evacuees spending the severe winter in temporary housing.
The Emperor says many Japanese have faced difficulties and hardships in 2013. He hopes people will help each other. He adds that Japanese should work with others around the world to pursue peace and a better future.
The Emperor and Empress plan to work on strengthening relations between Japan and other nations this year.
Vietnam’s head of state will visit Japan in March. Arrangements are being made for US President Barack Obama to come to Japan in April.
The Emperor and Empress and other Imperial family members will make a New Years appearance before well-wishers at the Imperial Palace on Thursday.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on Saturday received New Year’s greetings from other imperial family members and government leaders at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Among the well-wishers were Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko, Prime Minister Naoto Kan, heads of the Diet’s two chambers and the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
"It is certainly a pleasure to celebrate the New Year together," Emperor Akihito told his guests. "At the beginning of the year, I pray for the development of the nation and the happiness of the people."
January 1 means it’s time for the National Corporate Men’s Ekiden Championships, the New Year Ekiden. The New Year Ekiden is the focus of the year for professional runners in Japan, seven stages making up 100 km with the African ringers who prop up many of the best teams shoehorned into 8.3 km and Japanese aces stretching out over 22 km. More than the marathon, this is what Japan’s top runners are peaking for, and the result is the highest-level racing of the year. Overseas viewers can watch TBS’ 6-hour live broadcast online for free beginning at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on New Year’s Day via Keyhole TV, available here. That’s 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 on the west coast of the U.S., 6:30 p.m. on the east coast, or 11:30 p.m. in London. JRN will be doing live English commentary via Twitter @JRNLive. Should the feed max out we will switch over to @NewYearEkiden