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Japan gears up for Naruhito's enthronement

Sunday - October 20, 2019 2:50 pm , Category : WORLD
Tokyo, Oct 20 (IANS) Japanese authorities on Sunday started preparations for the upcoming enthronement ceremony of the recently-ascended Emperor Naruhito with a series of planned celebrations that have been dampened by the devastating typhoon Hagibis, the deadliest to have hit the archipelago in half a century.
The only event within the celebrations that is open to the general public has been postponed in the aftermath of Hagibis, which claimed 78 lives, injured 346, while nine others remained unaccounted for, Efe news reported.
Emperor Naruhito, who officially took over imperial duties from his father Akihito following his abdication in May, is set to take part in various traditional rituals and festivities on Tuesday marking his ascension to the revered Chrysanthemum Throne in front of domestic and foreign dignitaries.
Naruhito's enthronement rituals are scheduled to begin right after noon on Tuesday at the Imperial Palace, where the Emperor will receive the regalia that symbolizes his power (a sword representing valoUr, a mirror exemplifying wisdom and a jewel embodying benevolence) before ceremonially ascending the Takamikura throne, covered by curtains and a canopy that will be 6.5 meters high.
Empress Masako will sit next to him on a lower throne.
Some 2,000 guests, including dignitaries from 174 countries, are set to attend the ensuing celebrations, among them prominent royals such as the UK's Prince Charles and Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.
The common people will have to make do with a televised broadcast of the ceremony on Tuesday and wait for another three weeks to see the new Emperor up close.
Naruhito's ascension marks the beginning of a new era in Japan, dubbed "Reiwa," which roughly translates to "beautiful harmony".
He is now the 126th consecutive Japanese emperor.
Japan's monarchy is generally considered to be the longest-lived continuous hereditary royal dynasty in the world.

--IANS ksk