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Wednesday, 31st December 2014
In General Japan News,

Japanese emperor urges Japan to learn from past

Japan's emperor made his traditional New Year's Thoughts speech on Thursday (December 31st) and called for the nation to carefully consider the consequences of its wartime past.

In the year that marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war, Emperor Akihito, who recently celebrated his 81st birthday, said he hoped Japan would continue to strive as a peaceful country.

Thousands of well-wishers turned out to hear the Emperor's speech from the glass-fronted balcony of the Imperial Palace, in which he explicitly discussed the Manchurian incident, in which Japanese saboteurs staged a bomb explosion that was used as the pretext for Japan’s invasion of northeastern China. Fourteen years of continuous war followed.

"Those who died on the battlefields, those who died in the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, those who died in the air raids on Tokyo and other cities - so many people lost their lives in this war," he said.

"I hope this year will be a year to show to the world the future shape of a country that we aim to create, and make a strong start toward building that new country."

The emperor's audience waved small Japanese flags as the speech was made, and also chanted 'banzai' at the monarch, which translates into 'live long'.

Prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe also, made a speech for the start of 2015, in which he stated that this will be the year that his government starts defining the future shape of the nation for years to come, with promises regarding the economy.

However, the politician stopped short of outlining his plans in detail.

Whatever the plans, 2015 is set to be extremely exciting for Japan's tourism industry, which has been going from strength to strength and last year welcomed an unprecedented 13 million visitors.