Jan. 4 - Thousands flock to Tokyo to pray for an uppick in the economy this year, as Japan's new government fights to turn around the country's economic fortunes. Sunita Rappai reports.
Queuing up for their fortune cookies - but will fortune shine on Japan's economy this year? Thousands of Japanese workers flocked to this Tokyo shrine on Friday praying for good luck in the coming year. They cast money into a donation box in what is a yearly rite for many of the city's white-collar workers. Expectations are high, with Japan's new prime minister Shinzo Abe promising to turn round the country's economic fortunes. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 45-YEAR-OLD INTERNET BUSINESS EMPLOYEE, SHUICHI YOSHIHARA, SAYING: "What I really want -- what I'm expecting -- from the government this year are policies that turn around the economy, in particular those that increase consumption." Abe has also promised to boost the number of women in front line professional roles. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 42-YEAR-OLD COMPANY EMPLOYEE, TOMOMI SUGAHARA, SAYING: "Whether it's politics or business, this year I want Japan to become a place that women can get more involved in." More than 300,000 people are expected to head to this Shinto shrine in the first days of the New Year.