More than half a million people were pardoned in Japan on Tuesday as part of the pre-war custom of pardoning Naruhito to officially ascend the chrysanthemum throne as the nation's 216th emperor.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government pardoned about 550,000 people who were found guilty of petty offenses as traffic offenses before the event.
The 59-year-old emperor officially began his reign in May when he inherited the throne after his father Akihito's abdication. On Tuesday, however, Naruhito promised to serve as a symbol of the state for his people.
"I hereby declare my introduction to those at home and abroad," said Naruhito. "I hereby swear that I will act in accordance with the constitution and fulfill my responsibility as a symbol of the state and unity of the Japanese people, while always praying for the happiness of the people and peace in the world while I stand. with people. "
TYPHOON HAGIBIS SWEPT AWAY FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DECONTAMINATION OF WASTE IN THE RIVER 19659003] The brief ceremony, attended by more than 180 international dignitaries, including Prince Charles, began with the sound of a bell while Naruhito – wearing an official brown-orange robe, dyed in sappa and Japanese wax and a black colored hat decorated with erect tail – stood perfectly still, as a pair of black camerlane dresses pulled away and secured the purple curtains surrounding the throne.
The throne, called Takamikura, is a 21-foot-tall ornamental structure. It was separated into 3,000 units and transported last year from the former imperial palace in the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto, where the emperors lived until 150 years ago, and has been re-assembled and refurbished with new varnish coatings.
The ceremony on Tuesday is the second of the three ceremonies that followed the May succession. The next month sees the highly religious and divisive ritual of the Daihosai, or the Great Thanksgiving.
While the harvesting ritual is an annual event held privately by the emperor, the government finances the first of a new emperor as part of the inheritance ceremony, a one-time sanctuary is being built at the Palace on November 14-15.
Some experts raise questions about the government's funding of 16 billion yen ($ 150 million) for ceremonies containing religious ceremonies such as Daihosai. Most of the expenses go to a one-time shrine that will be demolished after the event.
The parade, originally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, was postponed until November 10 because of the recent typhoon Hagibis, which caused floods and other damage in central and northern Japan.
"Today is an important day for the new emperor and the empress," 78-year-old Shuichi Hachinuma, who travels to Tokyo, told AFP. "I feel the Emperor is closer to us than in the past. … I want him to send a message of peace. "
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Naruchito, an Oxford student, leads the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world that historians say is 1500 years ago.
He is a historian, viola and expert on water transport. Masako has struggled for more than a decade since developing an "adjustment disorder" after giving birth to the couple's only child, Princess Aiko, and is pressured to produce a boy in the Japanese monarchy, allowing only male heirs.
The shortage of men in the royal family raised concerns about inheritance and prompted calls for debate, possibly allowing women emperors to be allowed. Naruhito has an 83-year-old uncle and two potential heirs – his younger brother Crown Prince Akishino and a 13-year-old nephew.
Abe and his ultra-conservative proponents insist on male-only inheritance, while a majority of
Associate Press participated in this report.