Tens of thousands celebrate Japan emperor's enthronement

Japan emperor greets at celebration hosted by conservatives

New Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako greeted supporters Sunday afternoon in Tokyo during a 30-minute parade from the Imperial Palace to celebrate his enthronement.

An open vehicle - a specially modified Toyota Century - rides 4.6 kilometers from the imperial palace to the residence of the new emperor in just 30 minutes. Empress Masako appeared to wipe away tears as they passed tens of thousands of adoring fans during the parade that passed the Japan legislative building.

The ceremony had been postponed due to the damage caused by powerful Typhoon Hagibis, which killed dozens of people and caused significant damage in eastern and central Japan, and in consideration for the victims' families.

The procession was originally planned for October 22 after the Emperor's enthronement ceremony.

"I deeply appreciate that so many of you gathered despite the cold weather today to celebrate my enthronement", said Naruhito, standing next to his Harvard-educated wife, also a former diplomat.

Authorities deployed around 26,000 officers and established extensive security measures, including around 40 checkpoints along the route, blockades on nearby roads and restrictions on using metro stations in the area.

Naruhito, wearing a tail coat decorated with medals and carrying a brimmed hat, and Masako, in an off-white long dress and wearing a tiara, kept waving from a Toyota Century convertible.

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Naruhito officially began his reign on the Chrysanthemum Throne in May, when his 85-year-old father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, officially abdicated after four decades, citing failing health.

An estimated 119,000 people came to watch the parade Sunday, local media reported.

Akihito's parade in November 1990 saw some 120,000 people turn out. After the parade, it will be put on display in Tokyo and Kyoto.

"The sky is so blue and this is a great day for taking photos, as if it's the heaven's blessing for (the emperor)", said Suzuki, an amateur photographer.

"Emotion welled up and I was so happy that I was about to cry", she said.

Sunday's event was the first since one was held for Naruhito and Masako's marriage in June 1993, just three years after his parents marked their enthronement with a parade. Conservatives insist on the male-only succession, but Suzuki says he wouldn't mind a female monarch. Many Japanese were especially impressed by the couple freely conversing with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during their visit weeks after Naruhito's succession in May, according to palace watchers.

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