Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Emperor Hirohito’s grave on Jan. 7 in the Musashino Imperial Graveyard in Hachioji, western Tokyo, to mark the 30th anniversary of his death.

At 11:15 a.m., Akihito, wearing a black coat, walked to the graveyard with Prince Fumihito, prayed and read sentences aloud.

“I would be grateful if you protect our nation and citizens and let us flourish further,” he said, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

Imperial family members and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were among about 80 people who attended part of the ceremony at the graveyard in the morning. It was the first such ceremony performed for Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, which are performed at specified intervals, since one in 2009 that was held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death.

At 10 a.m., a ceremony was also held at one of three imperial sanctuaries located on the premises of the Imperial Palace. About 40 people including imperial family members and relatives of Hirohito attended.

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako prayed on behalf of Akihito and Michiko.