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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended an annual New Year’s lecture Friday at the Imperial Palace covering language, material science innovations and genetic research, the Imperial Household Agency said.

Lectures for the Koshohajime-no-gi event were provided by Minoru Hara, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo; Tsuyoshi Masumoto, a professor emeritus at Tohoku University; and Yoshiro Shimura, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University.

Hara spoke on the origins and historical meanings of Indian Sanskrit, Masumoto discussed the characteristics of a new kind of metal and Shimura focused on developments in genetic research.

Other members of the Imperial family present included Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, as well as Prince Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko.

Some 30 academics and experts, including 2002 Nobel prizewinning engineer Koichi Tanaka, also attended the lecture, the agency said.

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