Autumn Imperial Garden Party
About 2,000 guests were invited on Thursday to the Autumn Imperial Garden Party, hosted by Japan's Emperor and Empress.
The party is held twice every year, in spring and autumn. But the spring event was cancelled following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The guests at the Akasaka Imperial Garden included Norio Sasaki, coach of the national women's soccer squad, which won its first World Cup in July, and team captain Homare Sawa.
The Emperor congratulated Sasaki on the result and said he believes the team members must have fully performed their ability.
Sasaki said the team succeeded thanks to support from the people of Japan.
The Emperor then congratulated Sawa, who wore a blue long-sleeved kimono.
He said he was surprised by one of the saves by Goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori during a penalty shootout in the final match against the United States.
Sawa replied that she thinks it was the result of daily training.
Mayor Katsuya Endo of Tomioka town in Fukushima prefecture also attended. The town's entire population was evacuated following the nuclear power plant accident nearby.
The Emperor expressed concern about radioactive contamination in the town.
Endo replied that he will do his best for the decontaminating effort so that residents can return home as soon as possible.
The Emperor said it was encouraging that people have been working together. He said he hopes good reconstruction will be done.
Friday, October 14, 2011 06:53 +0900 (JST)