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Japanese Emperor Naruhito marks 1 year since ascension

Tokyo, May 1 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Emperor Naruhito marked one year since his ascension to the throne Friday, praying for the swift end to the coronavirus crisis.

 

The Emperor completed a series of ceremonies related to his succession last year, such as his enthronement ceremony and the “Daijosai” grand thanksgiving rites. He was accompanied by Empress Masako, who is receiving treatment, in all of the events.

 

At the “Sokui-go-Choken-no-Gi” ceremony May 1 last year, the Emperor swore to “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 turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them.”

 

During U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit to Japan later that month, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako had a pleasant conversation with Trump and his wife, Melania, without an interpreter.

 

In June, the Imperial couple attended an annual national tree-planting festival in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan. In September, the two attended the national cultural festival, the national convention for the development of an abundantly productive sea and the opening ceremony of the national sports festival.

 

On Oct. 22, the Emperor took part in the “Sokuirei-Seiden-no-Gi” ceremony to proclaim his enthronement, which was attended by representatives of 191 countries, regions and international organizations.

 

The “Shukuga-Onretsu-no-Gi” enthronement parade and a national festival celebrating the Emperor’s ascension were held the following month. Empress Masako showed tears of joy during the events.

 

Emperor Naruhito, who was born after World War II and turned 60 in February this year, continues the duties passed on to him by his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito.

 

The Emperor used the words “deep remorse” to reflect on Japan’s wartime history during an annual war memorial ceremony Aug. 15 last year, as had his father.

 

In December, Emperor Naruhito visited the northeastern prefectures of Miyagi and Fukushima, hit by the powerful Typhoon Hagibis. He used a Self-Defense Forces helicopter to travel to the stricken areas, to minimize burdens on the local people.

 

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has caused the Emperor to scale back his official duties and activities.

 

Visits by the general public to the Imperial Palace to celebrate his 60th birthday were canceled. His planned visit to Britain this spring was postponed, as were the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, for which the Emperor serves as honorary patron.

 

Princess Aiko, the only child of the Imperial couple, also saw her entrance ceremony at Gakushuin University canceled over the coronavirus.

 

The Emperor and Empress are concerned over the virus crisis and are hearing from experts to grasp the situation.

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