The 53rd Miss International beauty pageant will be held on 17 December in Tokyo though the pageant officially began on 7 December.

Japan is hosting the Miss International pageant for the second consecutive year.

The finale will take place at Tokyo's Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall at 5:30 pm (2:30am BST). The winner will be crowned by Miss International 2012, Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan, at the end of a three-hour-long gala.

A total of 72 delegates will represent their countries at the pageant.

The Miss International pageant, staged by the International Culture Association, was established in 1960 in Japan to promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

The first pageant took place in Long Beach, California, and Stella Marquez of Colombia became the first beauty queen to be crowned Miss International.

The pageant's Miss International Foundation established in 1966, helps raise funds for charities such as UNICEF for the deprived child all over the world. The foundation also focuses on environment preservation and an annual tree planting activity called Green Champaign is held in Japan every year.

"The aim of this 'Beauty Festival' is for each delegate to compete not only their external beauty but also to enrich their inner beauty by having such international exchanges and social action programs," a statement on the pageant's official website reads.

Besides crowing a contestant Miss International, the pageant also announces special awards for Miss National Costume, Miss Friendship, Miss Performance, Miss Photogenic, Miss Internet and Miss JOICEP. Elma Segzdaviciute of Lithuania has won the Miss Photogenic award.