Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Japan gets a new emperor as Naruhito vows to pursue peace

8fd8a1eb End of an era as Japan's Emperor Akihito declares historic abdication; son Naruhito takes over...
Patty Aguilar | 01 May, 2019, 08:40

Naruhito, 59, technically succeeded his father just as Tuesday became Wednesday but his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne was formalised in a mid-morning ceremony, the first part of which his wife and other royal women were unable to attend.

Naruhito will give his first speech as emperor during this ceremony, which will also be attended by Empress Masako.

Japanese media said two people were arrested.

In her letter to the new Emperor, President Halimah expressed confidence that Japan will continue to prosper amid lasting peace and stability in the new Reiwa era, which she noted fittingly represents the hope that all Japanese people will achieve their aspirations.

Naruhito, the first Japanese emperor to have studied overseas and the first born after Japan's defeat in World War II, formally succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne at midnight after his father Akihito abdicated Tuesday.

"I will devote myself to self-improvement and swear I will act according to the Constitution", the Emperor stated.

Naruhito succeeded to the Chrysanthemum Throne at midnight after Emperor Emeritus Akihito retired the previous day. "I pledge that I will always think of the people, and while drawing close to them, fulfill my duties as a symbol of the Japanese state and the unity of the Japanese people in accordance with the constitution", Naruhito, wearing a tailcoat and several large medals, said with a smile.

In his letter to Emperor Naruhito, PM Lee congratulated the monarch and said relations between Singapore and Japan are excellent, underpinned by many common interests, frequent high-level exchanges, robust economic links, and close people-to-people ties.

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"I pray with all my heart for peace and happiness for all the people in Japan and around the world", Akihito said.

His wife, Empress Masako, a Harvard-educated former diplomat, and their daughter Princess Aiko, are barred from the first ceremony, where only adult male royals can participate.

Naruhito will receive the Imperial regalia of sword and jewel as proof of succession at the ceremony Wednesday and later will make his first address.

Abe said Japan looked up to the emperor.

After that, female royalty will enter the room and Naruhito will make his first public remarks as emperor. Only his younger brother, Prince Akishino, 53, and Akishino's 12-year-old son, Prince Hisahito, can now succeed him. But much will depend on her health, since she has been recovering from what the palace describes as stress-induced depression for about 15 years.

I would like to express my heartfelt respect and appreciation of the comportment shown by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan.

He said he would "reflect deeply" on the example set by his popular father Akihito, and that assuming the throne filled him with a "sense of solemnity". The Imperial House Law confines the succession to male heirs, leaving Naruhito's daughter, Aiko, now 17, out of the running.

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