Crowds visit palace for Emperor's birthday
NHK -- Dec 24
Nearly 83,000 people visited the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo on Sunday to celebrate Emperor Akihito's 85th birthday.

The Emperor, Empress Michiko and other members of the Imperial family appeared on the palace balcony three times to greet well-wishers in the morning.

In his address, the Emperor expressed gratitude for the congratulations he had received.

He said it was unfortunate that Japan was hit by natural disasters again this year.

He expressed sympathy for the people who had lost loved ones, suffered damage and are struggling to get their lives back on track.

The Emperor said that with only a few days left until the New Year, he hopes it will be a good year for all, and he wishes everyone health and happiness.

This was the Emperor's final birthday greeting to the public before his abdication next April.

The Imperial Household Agency says the number of well-wishers was the largest since 1969.

The agency also says nearly 10,000 people were unable to enter the palace compound before the third greeting. Officials asked them to write their congratulatory messages in special books in the afternoon.

天皇誕生日の23日、一般参賀で皇居を訪れた人は約8万3000人で平成最多となりました。 皇居では午前に3回、両陛下や皇族が宮殿に姿を見せられました。昼すぎからは記帳も行われ、皇居を訪れた人は平成最多の8万2850人に上りました。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
Mar 22
Japanese baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki of the US Major Leagues' Seattle Mariners has announced his retirement. (NHK)
Mar 21
Cherry trees came into bloom Wednesday in the southwestern prefecture of Nagasaki, the first blooming of the "Somei Yoshino" variety in Japan this spring, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. (Japan Today)
Mar 21
Police on Wednesday arrested an American man on suspicion of fatally stabbing his Japanese wife at a court where they were to settle a divorce. (Japan Today)
Mar 21
The unmanned space probe Hayabusa2 has detected small amounts of minerals containing water on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu, a Japanese research team has said. (Japan Times)
Mar 20
The head of the Japanese Olympic Committee has announced he will step down when his term expires in June. (NHK)
Mar 19
Japan's space probe operating on an asteroid some 340 million kilometers from Earth is preparing to study the asteroid's interior by creating an artificial impact crater. (NHK)
Mar 19
Japanese rock singer Yuya Uchida died of pneumonia on Sunday. He was 79 years old. (NHK)
Mar 16
Trains in and around the Japanese capital will run later into the night during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to allow spectators to get home easily from events. (NHK)
Mar 16
Chiba Prefectural Police on Friday announced the arrest of a 38-year-old man over the alleged theft of children’s slippers from schools across the country, reports the Asahi Shimbun (tokyoreporter.com)
Mar 15
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested Thursday he has no intention of serving another four-year term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party when his third term expires in September 2021. (Japan Times)