Emperor Naruhito declares succession to throne in ceremony
TOKYO. KAZINFORM 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.
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, Kyodo News reports.
The 59-year-old is the first emperor to be born after World War II and to have studied overseas. With his enthronement, his wife Masako, 55, an Oxford- and Harvard-educated former diplomat, became empress.
"In acceding to the throne, I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by his majesty the emperor emeritus (Akihito) and bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors, and will devote myself to self-improvement," said the emperor in his first speech after his enthronement.
"I also swear that I will act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them," he said during the "Sokui go Choken no gi" rite.
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.
In the preceding ceremony known as "Kenji to Shokei no gi," the emperor, dressed in a formal black suit and wearing a number of decorations marking his status, inherited the imperial regalia as proof of his ascension to the throne.
The regalia, called "Sanshu no Jingi," consist of the sacred mirror, sword and jewel. The original mirror is kept at Ise Jingu, a Shinto shrine in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, and the sword at Atsuta Jingu in Nagoya in nearby Aichi Prefecture.
In the ritual, the jewel and a replica of the sword were passed to the new monarch together with the state and privy seals. At the same time, an aide to the emperor visited a shrine inside the Imperial Palace where a replica mirror is kept.
Both ceremonies were brief, lasting between 5 and 10 minutes.
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