Japan gets a new emperor as Naruhito vows to pursue peace

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While noting his father's devotion to praying for peace, Naruhito said he'll "reflect deeply" on the path trodden by Akihito and past emperors.

"I pledge that I will always think of the people, and while drawing close to them, fulfil 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 small smile.

Numerous people who came send their well-wishes hoped for peace in the new Reiwa era.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a telegram congratulating new Japanese Emperor Naruhito on his inauguration, the Kremlin website said on Wednesday.

Japan was in a festive mood celebrating an imperial succession that occurred by retirement rather than by death. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, too, expressed hopes Emperor Naruhito will, as his father did, "remember the pains of war while taking firm footsteps towards peace".

Naruhito will make his first public appearance on Saturday when he will again address the people of Japan.

The name of the new era "Reiwa" (meaning "beautiful harmony") was announced one month earlier on April 1, which immediately caught the attention of brand marketing experts. Japan's new era, Reiwa, also coincided with Naruhito's ascension.

Interestingly, next in line for the Japanese throne is not Crown Prince Naruhito's daughter Aiko but Naruhito's brother, Akishino' son, nine-year old Hisahito. But she is not eligible to inherit the throne because of a males-only succession law that conservatives see as central to the imperial tradition but that many experts say threatens the very existence of the monarchy. The official Xinhua news agency reported Xi said China and Japan should work together to promote peace and development and bilateral ties. Female royals are not allowed to be there so Empress Masako, Emperor Naruhito's wife, was not present.

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But the main event will be at precisely 5:00pm local time (0800 GMT), when the 85-year-old will formally step down in a 10-minute ceremony in the "Matsu-no-Ma" ("Room of Pine"), considered the most elegant hall in the sumptuous Imperial Palace.

"The abdication of Emperor Akihito marks the end of the Heisei era for Japan".

The high standard of living will also likely continue - notwithstanding the fact that the Japanese economy has not grown for the past three decades.

His father will move out of the palace later this year and now assumes the title Emperor Emeritus.

But this is not the first time Naruhito has surprised Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, replying on behalf of the people, said: "We are determined to create a bright future for a proud Japan filled with peace and hope at a time when the worldwide situation is changing dramatically".

Akihito's abdication marked the first time in more than 200 years that the occupant of the throne stepped down.

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