Postal workers across Japan have begun delivering New Year greeting cards.
A ceremony to mark the start of deliveries was held at a post office in downtown Tokyo on Friday morning.
Japan Post Holdings President Masuda Hiroya said that each card is filled with thoughtfulness, and that he hopes postal workers will deliver them safely.
Communications minister Takeda Ryota said that the environment surrounding the postal service has greatly changed with the popularization of e-mail and social media. But he noted that a well-crafted greeting card has something that cannot be conveyed by such media.
After the ceremony, workers left for their assigned areas to make deliveries.
More than 1.15 billion New Year's cards are expected to be delivered on Friday. That's about 10 percent less than last year, and the 12th consecutive year of decline.