• Kyodo News

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Expressing concern for those suffering due to the economic crisis, Emperor Akihito offered his annual New Year’s greetings to thousands of well-wishers who gathered at the Imperial Palace on Friday.

“I am concerned that there may be many people who are having problems at the beginning of the new year due to the severe economic conditions,” the Emperor said from the balcony of the Chowa-Den wing shortly after 10 a.m. “I hope this year will be a good year for all of you, as much as is possible.”

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