01/02/2020, 08.45
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Emperor Naruhito wishes 'peaceful and disaster-free 2020'

It is his first speech at the beginning of the year.  The monarch greeted his subjects five times: three in the morning and two in the afternoon.  About 68 thousand Japanese listened to his words.  The emeritus imperial couple appeared in public alongside Naruhito for the first time since the imperial succession.




Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Emperor Naruhito today greeted his subjects in his first speech at the beginning of the year since he ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne, expressing hope for a "peaceful" 2020 without natural disasters in Japan and happiness  all over the world.

East Asia is one of the regions of the world most affected by natural disasters.  Scientists identify their increasing frequency in climate change.  Right now, Indonesia is counting the damage caused by the flood that devastated Jakarta.

Accompanied by his wife - Empress Masako - and other members of the imperial family, the 59-year-old monarch appeared this morning to thousands of supporters from behind the bulletproof glass of a balcony of the Imperial Palace.  The rite took place two more times in the morning and as many in the afternoon.

Emperor Emeritus Akihito and his wife Michiko only attended the morning sessions.  The couple appeared in public alongside Naruhito for the first time since last year's imperial succession.

"I hope this year is peaceful and good, without natural disasters," said the emperor, showing closeness to those affected by floods and typhoons in 2019.  "At the beginning of the year - he added - I wish for the happiness of people in our country and in the world".

The Imperial House Agency reports that about 68,000 Japanese people listened to Naruhito's speech at the beginning of the year;  77,000 flocked to the Palace to attend Akihito's first after he ascended the throne in 1989.

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