Emperor Akihito of Japan today greeted the citizens of his country to express their good wishes to them in the new year, the last ceremony of that type that he stars, as he will leave the throne next April.
Accompanied by Empress Michiko, Akihito greeted from a balcony of the imperial palace in Tokyo the people who had gathered there, whom he wished 2019 to be "a good year" for all.
"At the beginning of the year, I pray for the peace and happiness of the people of our country and the world," said the emperor, according to Japanese media.
Akihito, 85, will abdicate on April 30 and the next day will assume the Chrysanthemum Throne his eldest son, Naruhito.
Akhito decided to abdicate in 2016, considering that his advanced age prevented him from fully performing his duties.
The emperor was scheduled to participate today in five greetings from the balcony to wish the Japanese a good new year.