Japan’s Emperor Naruhito marks first anniversary of enthronement


TOKYO: Japan’s Emperor Naruhito marked the first anniversary of his enthronement on Friday with a prayer at palace shrines for the people’s peace and happiness amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Naruhito, wearing a white surgical mask, greeted well-wishers on the sidewalk from a royal car on the way to the palace for the ritual.
Naruhito, 60, ascended to the Chrysanthemum throne on May 1 last year, the day after his father, Akihito, abdicated.
In Friday’s closed ritual, Naruhito was to change to traditional outfit to pray for the peace and happiness for the people and the gods of Shinto.
Some of his scheduled events, including part of his birthday celebrations in February and a trip to Britain that was supposed to be his first overseas visit as the monarch, have been canceled due to the pandemic.
Naruhito and his wife, Emperor Masako, have been receiving information from coronavirus experts about the latest developments.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday he planned to extend a state of emergency beyond the scheduled end of May 6 because infections are spreading and hospitals are overburdened.
Japan has 14,281 confirmed cases, up 182 from the day before, with 432 deaths, according to the health ministry tally on Friday.



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