Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi promised Saturday to serve out his term with dedication as he hosted a garden party to view cherry blossoms in a Tokyo park.

“The cherry blossoms will fall some time. Treasuring the time to withdraw, the time to fall, I will hold on, without escaping, till the end of my term,” he said in a speech at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, referring to a poem by Hosokawa Gratia.

She was a 16th century Christian convert who is often held up as a model of the virtuous samurai wife.

Prime ministers host the garden party in Shinjuku Ward every year.

The roughly 11,000 guests from various sectors included foreign ambassadors, political figures, business leaders and athletes.

Figure skater Mao Asada, speed skater Tomomi Okazaki and singer Shinji Tanimura were among the guests.

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