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Crown prince Naruhito becomes Japan’s emperor

On May 1, Naruhito’s official ascension ceremony will be held in Tokyo

TOKYO, April 30. /TASS/. Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito has officially become the country’s emperor. In accordance with the law on the abdication of his father Akihito, this took place at 00:00 Tokyo time on May 1. At the same time, Japan has welcomed the first year of the era of Reiwa, or "beautiful harmony", which marks the rule of every new emperor.

Earlier on Tuesday, official events in honor of his father, 85-year-old Akihito, were held in Tokyo. On his abdication, Akihito has received the title of honorable emperor.

On May 1, Naruhito’s official ascension ceremony will be held in Tokyo. He will receive the imperial seal and jewels. The emperor’s wife Masako, members of the imperial family, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and the country’s ministers and officials will attend the event.

After the ceremony, the new emperor will address the nation for the first time as monarch. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also present a speech on the behalf of the Japanese nation.

Emperor Akihito, 85, announced his wish to step down back in 2016 due to his old age. Under Japan’s law, the monarch rules for life, but the parliament passed a law making a one-off exception for Akihito.

His son Naruhito, 59, will be the first Japanese emperor born after Japan’s capitulation in the Second World War. He graduated from Gakushuin University and the University of Oxford. Naruhito’s wife, 55-year-old Masako is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Tokyo and a career diplomat. The imperial couple have one daughter Aiko, born in 2001.