Emperor Naruhito Proclaims His Accession To Throne

Emperor Naruhito proclaims his accession to throne

History in the making as Japan's Emperor ascends the throne at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The main ceremony to mark the accession has just taken place.

Emperor Naruhito took the throne in May, and on Tuesday dignitaries from Japan and other countries are celebrating his enthronement.

As about 2,000 people looked on, the curtains of the Imperial Throne called "Takamikura" were opened, revealing Emperor Naruhito dressed in a traditional robe.

Empress Masako was in a smaller structure known as "Michodai", wearing a ceremonial kimono.

In a moment steeped in tradition, the Emperor officially proclaimed his enthronement.

Emperor Naruhito said: "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. I sincerely hope that our country, through our people's wisdom and unceasing efforts, achieves further development and contributes to the friendship and peace of the international community and the welfare and prosperity of humankind."

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe then delivered a congratulatory address on behalf of people of Japan.

He said: "Looking up to Your Majesty as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people, we, the people of Japan, with fresh minds, will engage in our very best efforts to create a bright future for a Japan in which we take pride, a Japan that is peaceful and brimming with hope, and an era of culture coming into being and flourishing, when people bring their hearts and minds together in a beautiful manner.

That was followed by three rounds of banzai, a traditional Japanese exclamation wishing a long life.

A motorcade parade was planned for the afternoon. But the government postponed it by three weeks in consideration for the victims of Typhoon Hagibis which hit the country earlier this month.

The first of a series of court banquets to celebrate the Emperor's enthronement will be held as scheduled later in the evening.