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07 December
Saturday

Asia

New era officially begin in Japan

Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne during the traditional ceremony

Photo: KYODO

/NOVOSTIVL/ Emperor Naruhito declared his succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne in a ceremony Wednesday and pledged to fulfill the symbolic, nonpolitical role in accordance with the postwar Constitution. This article appeared in the Kyodo News.

His enthronement after Tuesday's abdication by his 85-year-old father former Emperor Akihito - the first by a Japanese monarch in 202 years - marked the start of Japan's new imperial era, named Reiwa.

The ceremony at the "Matsu no Ma" stateroom in the Imperial Palace was attended by some 260 people, including the heads of the government, legislature and judiciary as well as other imperial family members.

Following the emperor's speech, as a representative of the people, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe congratulated Emperor Naruhito on his enthronement and pledged to create a "bright future" that is peaceful and full of hope by respecting him as a symbol of the state.

Only adult male members of the imperial family - the emperor's younger brother Crown Prince Fumihito, 53, and their uncle Prince Hitachi, 83 - attended the inheritance ceremony for the regalia and seals, following the precedent set at former Emperor Akihito's enthronement in 1989. Female members of the imperial family were barred from the inheritance ceremony because they are not allowed to succeed to the throne under the Imperial House Law.

Former Emperor Akihito stepped down midnight Tuesday, bringing an end to the Heisei Era spanning his 30-year reign and marking the commencement of Reiwa, which the government translates as "beautiful harmony."

"I have performed my duties as the emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so," the emperor said in his last speech Tuesday.

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