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Japan Emperor Naruhito’s first year in power

Emperor Naruhito officially proclaims his ascension to the Chrysanthemum throne during an enthronement ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on October 22, 2019. (AFP)
Emperor Naruhito officially proclaims his ascension to the Chrysanthemum throne during an enthronement ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on October 22, 2019. (AFP)
Japan's Emperor Naruhito (L) and Empress Masako (R) depart Akasaka Palace for the court banquet at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on October 22, 2019. (AFP)
Japan's Emperor Naruhito (L) and Empress Masako (R) depart Akasaka Palace for the court banquet at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on October 22, 2019. (AFP)
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22 Oct 2020 01:10:56 GMT9
22 Oct 2020 01:10:56 GMT9

Faris Alrushud Riyadh

Oct. 22 marks one year since the official inauguration of Naruhito, the Japanese Emperor, and his accession to the Chrysanthemum throne. Naruhito is the successor of his father, Emperor Akihito, who abdicated after being in power for 30 years, in a first move taken by a Japanese emperor in 200 years.  

The inauguration ceremony was held in the imperial palace in Tokyo with about two thousand guests in attendance, including heads of states and important figures from all over the world. Among those who have attended the ceremony included: Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Elaine Chao, US Secretary of Transportation, Prince Charles and Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French President.

In addition, representatives of Arab leaders attended the ceremony. Among the most prominent people who attended: Prince Turki bin Mohammad bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi Minister of State, on behalf of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the King of Saudi Arabia, Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II, the Crown Prince of Jordan, and Asa’ad bin Tariq, the Deputy of the Omani Prime Minister. 

After his official accession to the throne last October, Emperor Naruhito performed Daijosai rituals or the great thanksgiving ceremony in Daijokyu complex inside the imperial palace on Nov. 14, 2019. These are the main rites that are performed once in each emperor’s reign when he ascends to the throne. During the ceremony, the Japanese emperor walked slowly in a candle-let pathway, accompanied by priests carrying a sacred sword and jewel, as part of the imperial family’s treasures.   

The emperor of Japan usually attends many events like ceremonies of handing over awards, planting trees and other occasions. He heads many activities, including meeting members of the public, tea ceremony gatherings and festive meals. Furthermore, the emperor pays regular visits to cultural and industrial institutions as well as social care centres in Japan.

The new emperor also met Pope Francis in late November 2019. It was the first encounter between a Japanese emperor and a Vatican pope since September 1993. Back then, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko met the late Pope John Paul II while in a trip to Italy.

Among the most prominent events attended by the incumbent Japanese emperor since his accession to throne is participating in the commemoration of war victims on Aug. 15 this year. This marked 75 years since Japan surrendered in WWII. The ceremony is held annually to honour the death of more than two million and half people, who sacrificed their lives for Japan in the war.    

Moreover, Naruhito took part in planting rice seedlings in a rice farm owned by the imperial palace on May 25 this year, in an annual tradition and custom that his grandparent, Emperor Showa (Emperor Hirohito) had started.

On the other hand, Emperor Naruhito approved that Yoshihide Suga, the new president of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, heads the Japanese government after obtaining majority of MPs’ votes. According to the party’s charter, Suga will assume the powers of the post till late September 2021. That means this will last until the powers of Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese prime minister, who announced his resignation on Aug. 28 due to health issues, after an eight-year tenure, come to an end.

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