Japanese Emperor Akihito turned 76 on Wednesday, wishing his people an early economic recovery in the coming year and voicing hope that the country would not be crippled by a resurgent swine flu pandemic.

"The first thing that comes to my mind is the plight of the many people who are facing difficulties due to the severe economic conditions in our country, triggered by the global financial crisis," he said in a birthday statement.

"It grieves my heart that there are people who have even lost their homes."

The emperor added: "In autumn, there was an increase in the number of patients infected by the new strain of influenza H1N1... I am concerned as to how the situation will turn out in the coming year.

"I am hoping that preventive measures such as the implementation of the flu vaccine will prevent a pandemic."

The son of wartime emperor Hirohito said he had been in a good health in a year in which he marked 20 years on the Chrysanthemum Throne and 50 years of marriage to Empress Michiko.

"My health is now better than it was last December, and I would like to spend the coming year as I did this year and I will try not to give people cause for concern."

The emperor underwent a surgery to remove prostate cancer in 2003 and suffered an irregular pulse last year, and the palace has lightened his schedule of official functions.

Nearly 24,000 people visited the palace in the morning alone, the largest number since 1989, when he took the throne of the world's oldest monarchy, the palace said.

The emperor greeted the flag-waving wellwishers, appearing three times on the glass-shielded balcony with the empress.

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, as well as the emperor's second son Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko, joined him on the balcony.

本周三,日本明仁天皇迎来了他76岁的生日。他祝愿来年日本经济早日复苏,并表示希望日本免遭新一轮甲型流感的袭击。

他在生日当天发表的一份声明中说:“现在我最关心的问题是日本民众的境况,全球金融危机导致日本经济形势十分严峻,很多民众生活困难。”

“有些人甚至无家可归,令我非常难过。”

天皇说:“今年秋季,日本感染新型甲型H1N1流感的病例出现上升。我很关心来年疫情的发展。”

“我希望接种疫苗等预防措施将能够防止疫情的大范围流行。”

明仁天皇是“二战”时期日本天皇裕仁的儿子。明仁天皇说这一年来他的健康状况良好。今年恰逢明仁天皇即位20周年,以及与美智子皇后结婚50周年。

“现在我的身体状况比去年12月好了很多,我希望明年能继续保持,尽量不让大家担心。”

2003年,明仁天皇接受了前列腺癌切除手术,去年出现心律不齐,日本皇室因此减少了他的公务活动。

日本皇室称,仅天皇生日的当天早晨,就有近2.4万人前来拜访日本皇宫,是自1989年明仁即位以来访客人数最多的一次。日本菊花皇室是世界上最古老的君主政体之一。

明仁天皇向前来表达祝福的热情民众致以问候,他和皇后三次出现在玻璃防护阳台上。

陪同明仁天皇一同亮相的还有皇太子德仁、皇太子妃雅子,明仁次子文仁亲王以及王妃纪子。


日本明仁天皇迎来76岁生日: http://insuns.com/article/19299-1.html