The Tokyo Stock Exchange has kicked off trading for the new year. Officials opened the market for the first time in 2021 after a ceremony to pray for success.
The annual event was scaled down as a precaution amid the coronavirus pandemic, with only about 40 officials taking part.
Financial Services Minister Aso Taro spoke at the event. He said he hopes to leverage the international appeal of the nation's nearly 19 trillion dollars in personal financial assets.
He also said, "We hope to strategically promote reforms to make the Tokyo market more attractive and create an environment that will draw overseas businesses and highly skilled foreign workers."
Tokyo stocks took a nosedive last March due to the pandemic. But share prices have since been on a long stretch of recovery.
The benchmark Nikkei index finished 2020 with the highest year-end closing in 31 years.
But investors remain anxious about the spike of infections.
The Nikkei average briefly shed more than 400 points on the first trading day of the year.