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New Japanese Emperor Naruhito pledges to work as symbol of the people

Updated : 2019-05-01 10:14:06

New Japanese Emperor Naruhito formally took up his post on Wednesday, saying he felt solemn with the burden he bore but pledged to work as a symbol of the nation and the unity of its people.

Former Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stepped down on Tuesday after three decades as the nation's top royals in a brief, simple ceremony, with Akihito thanking the people of Japan and saying he prayed for peace.

Naruhito, 59, technically succeeded his father just as Tuesday became Wednesday but his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne was formalised in a mid-morning ceremony, the first part of which his wife and other royal women were unable to attend.

Naruhito, the first emperor born after World War Two and the first to be raised solely by his parents, expressed gratitude for his parents' work over the past three decades and said he felt solemn at the thought of the burden he is taking on.

"As I succeed to the throne ... I pledge that I will always think of the people, and while drawing close to them, fulfill my duties as a symbol of the Japanese state and the unity of the Japanese people in accordance with the constitution," Naruhito, wearing a tailcoat and several large medals, said with a smile.

"I sincerely hope for the happiness of the people and further progress of the country, and for world peace," he said.

Japan's Emperor Naruhito, flanked by Empress Masako, attends a ceremony called Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi, his first audience after the accession to the throne, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, May 1, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS
Japan's Emperor Naruhito, flanked by Empress Masako, attends a ceremony called Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi, his first audience after the accession to the throne, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, May 1, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS
Japan's Emperor Naruhito, flanked by Empress Masako, attends a ceremony called Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi, his first audience after the accession to the throne, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, May 1, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS
Japan's Emperor Naruhito, flanked by Empress Masako, attends a ceremony called Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi, his first audience after the accession to the throne, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, May 1, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech during a ceremony called Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi, Emperor Naruhito's first audience after the accession to the throne, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, May 1, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech during a ceremony called Sokui-go-Choken-no-gi, Emperor Naruhito's first audience after the accession to the throne, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, May 1, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS
Japan's Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko attend a ritual called Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi, a ceremony for inheriting the imperial regalia and seals, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019, in this photo released by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
Japan's Emperor Naruhito, Empress Masako, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko attend a ritual called Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi, a ceremony for inheriting the imperial regalia and seals, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019, in this photo released by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
Japan's Emperor Naruhito, flanked by Crown Prince Akishino, attends a ritual called Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi, a ceremony for inheriting the imperial regalia and seals, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS
Japan's Emperor Naruhito, flanked by Crown Prince Akishino, attends a ritual called Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi, a ceremony for inheriting the imperial regalia and seals, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. Japan Pool/Pool via REUTERS
People take pictures of Japan's Emperor Naruhito as he leaves the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People take pictures of Japan's Emperor Naruhito as he leaves the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito waves from his vehicle upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito waves from his vehicle upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan's Emperor Akihito walks in front of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, as he leaves a ritual called Taiirei-Seiden-no-gi, a ceremony for the Emperor's abdication, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan April 30, 2019. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
Japan's Emperor Akihito walks in front of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, as he leaves a ritual called Taiirei-Seiden-no-gi, a ceremony for the Emperor's abdication, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan April 30, 2019. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A dog walks past people waiting for the arrival of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A dog walks past people waiting for the arrival of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A man holds a Japanese flag while waiting for the arrival of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A man holds a Japanese flag while waiting for the arrival of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A huge banner and screen celebrating Reiwa, Japan's new imperial era, are displayed on the first day of the Emperor Naruhito’s accession to the throne at a business district in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato
A huge banner and screen celebrating Reiwa, Japan's new imperial era, are displayed on the first day of the Emperor Naruhito’s accession to the throne at a business district in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Policemen prepare for traffic control on a road ahead of the arrival of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Policemen prepare for traffic control on a road ahead of the arrival of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A man holds up a
A man holds up a "Reiwa" (Japan's new imperial era) sign while waiting for the arrival of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People wait for the arrival of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People wait for the arrival of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito looks from his vehicle upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito looks from his vehicle upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito waves from his vehicle upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan’s Emperor Naruhito waves from his vehicle upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan's new Crown Prince Akishino looks from his vehicle upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan's new Crown Prince Akishino looks from his vehicle upon arriving at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
People celebrate the start of Japan's new Reiwa imperial era and Emperor Naruhito's accession to the throne in Tokyo, Japan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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