Japan's Emperor and the Empress have taken part in the opening ceremony of an event which promotes conservation of marine resources and environments around the country.
The 39th event was held in the city of Akita in Akita Prefecture, northeastern Japan, under the theme of "nurturing the sea environment that leads to a rich future and regions". Around 1,000 people working at fisheries all over Japan participated.
Until last year, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko took part in the annual event.
The Emperor Emeritus delivered his last annual address at the event in 2008, as arrangements were made to lessen his physical burden.
At this year's event, the Emperor delivered an address at the request of Akita Prefecture.
He said that it is an important mission of ours to preserve a rich marine environment, as well as to protect and manage marine resources and to hand down the blessings and beauty of the seas to future generations.
He added that he hopes that activities to protect marine resources will be supported by many people and will develop further.
A married couple that manages a fisheries business read a declaration, saying that they will never cease to be grateful to the sea and will work hard to get new colleagues.