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Japan Emperor Akihito celebrates birthday

Japan Emperor Akihito celebrates birthday
Emperor Akihito attends the opening ceremony of the extraordinary Diet session at the Upper House on September 29, 2008 in Tokyo, Japan. (UPI Photo/Keizo Mori) | License Photo

TOKYO, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Japanese Emperor Akihito Tuesday greeted well-wishers gathered for his 75th birthday celebration at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

"Lately, I worried you as my health declined but I believe I (will) recover gradually," the emperor said while waving from the balcony of the palace's main building, the Kyodo news agency reported.

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The emperor still has symptoms of a cold, so some of the customary events surrounding his birthday have been canceled or curtailed this year, officials said.

Akihito also expressed his concern over those who have been affected by the global financial crisis, saying, "I'm concerned that there would be many people facing difficulties and having a hard time at the end of the year … I hope you have a new year in good health."

Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino and his wife, Princess Kiko, also greeted the public at the appearance, Kyodo said.

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