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Japanese Emperor Naruhito claims throne in traditional ceremony

By Clyde Hughes
1/9
Japanese Emperor Naruhito claims throne in traditional ceremony
Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces fire a 21 gun salute Tuesday during a proclamation ceremony marking Emperor Naruhito's ascension to the throne at the Kitanomaru Park in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Mori Keizo/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Japanese Emperor Naruhito formally proclaimed his enthronement Tuesday during an ancient ceremony in Tokyo that was attended by dignitaries from around the world.

Guests from about 180 countries -- including Britain's Prince Charles, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon -- attended the ceremony.

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"I pledge hereby that I shall 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 wishing for the happiness of the people and the peace of the world, turning my thoughts to the people and standing by them," the emperor said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will host his own event for the emperor on Wednesday.

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"We, the people, look up to His Majesty the Emperor as the symbol of Japan and the unity of its people, and, with a renewed spirit, will put our best efforts into creating an era where new culture will flourish as a peaceful, hopeful and proud Japan realizes a bright future and the people come together in beautiful harmony," Abe said after Naruhito's speech.

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Naruhito succeeded his father, the Emperor Emeritus Akihito, when he abdicated the throne in May. During the formal ceremony Tuesday, the new emperor wore traditional imperial robes during the lavish ceremony.

"Having previously succeeded to the imperial throne in accordance with the Constitution of Japan and the Special Measures Law on the Imperial House Law. I now proclaim my enthronement to those at home and abroad," Naruhito said.

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A parade for the emperor was rescheduled to Nov. 10 out of respect for those affected this month by Typhoon Hagibis.

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed U.S.-Japanese relations in congratulating Naruhito Tuesday.

"On behalf of the American people, Melania and I offer our warmest congratulations to the people of Japan on the occasion of the enthronement of the new Emperor and Empress," he said. "The advent of the imperial era known as 'Reiwa,' meaning 'beautiful harmony,' comes at a time in which the bonds of friendship between the American and Japanese people have never been stronger.

"Our global partnership is an [unshakable] pillar of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world. It is a testament to the noble endeavor of advancing democracy, liberty, and human dignity for all. We wish the people of Japan our fondest regards and utmost respect on this auspicious and joyous occasion."

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