Japanese emperor Naruhito accepts the throne

Naruhito succeeded his father Akihito in May when he was the first emperor to renounce the throne in two centuries. Akihito was emperor from 1989 to 2019.

“I swear that I will act according to the constitution and fulfill my responsibility as a symbol of the state and the unity of the people,” he said in the presence of two thousand guests including King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima. “I sincerely hope that Japan will continue to develop and contribute to the friendship and peace of the international community and to the well-being and prosperity of people through wisdom and efforts.”

Naruhito announced the throne change at the so-called Sokuirei-Seiden-no-gi ceremony in the large Matsu-no-ma room of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also present as a representative of the population.

The foreign guests needed binoculars to follow the ceremony or in most cases had to rely on television screens. They were in a different building and were separated from the Matsu-no-ma hall by a large courtyard. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima were in a box with other royal guests, who were given a significantly better place than most presidents.

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