Japan postpones Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement parade over Typhoon

19 October, 2019 12:00 AM printer

TOKYO: A parade celebrating the formal ascension of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito has been postponed in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis, reports BBC.

The parade, which sees the emperor travel in an open-top car to “meet” the public, was postponed out of respect for the victims and their families.

The typhoon, which struck last weekend, left almost 80 dead and caused widespread damage.

The enthronement ceremony marking the ascension will go ahead on Tuesday.

Emperor Naruhito, 59, officially began his reign in May, after his father Emperor Akihito became the first monarch to abdicate the throne in more than 200 years.

Emperor Akihito received special legal permission to step down after saying he felt unable to fulfil his role because of declining health.

The day’s ceremonies will formalise Emperor Naruhito’s ascension to Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne. It will begin with a private ritual, where the new emperor will “report” his proclamation to his ancestors, according to news agency AFP.

Later, he will appear alongside his wife, the former diplomat Empress Masako, in ceremonial outfits in the Imperial Palace’s most prestigious hall.

The 30-minute ceremony will end with a proclamation from Emperor Naruhito, followed by a congratulatory address from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The ceremony will be attended by dignitaries from around the world, including the UK’s Prince Charles and - according to local media - Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The emperor will later host a tea party for foreign royalty, while Mr Abe will host a banquet in the evening.

More than half a million people convicted of petty crimes will also be pardoned to mark the enthronement.

The decision to delay the parade to 10 November was taken by the cabinet on Friday, a day after Prime Minister Abe told reporters he was considering the move “given the disaster situation”. Japan is still conducting search and rescue operations following the storm last weekend, which caused widespread flooding and landslides.