Thousands greet Japan’s new emperor

Source:AFP Published: 2019/11/10 21:08:39

Security high for parade rescheduled after deadly typhoon

Japanese Emperor Naruhito proclaimed his enthronement at a ceremony held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Oct 22, 2019. Photo:Xinhua

Tens of thousands of flag-waving spectators cheered Japan's new Emperor ­Naruhito on Sunday during a rare open-top car imperial parade that was rescheduled after a deadly typhoon.

Some in the crowd camped overnight to nab a prime stop by the palace for the 30-minute parade featuring the emperor and his wife Empress Masako.

The event was one of the final events marking Naruhito's ascension to the throne after his father Akihito earlier this year became the first Japanese emperor in two centuries to abdicate.

The royal couple emerged from the palace moments before 3 pm (06:00 GMT), with the Emperor wearing formal Western clothing and the Empress dressed in a long cream gown and ­jacket, wearing a tiara passed down by her predecessor.

Security was high for the event, with long lines forming hours ahead of the parade and thousands of police deployed to search bags and move spectators through metal detectors.

Security forces lined the entire length of the route in double rows, keeping close watch as the slow-moving parade passed, flanked by police on motorbikes.

In the minutes before the parade began, police at one checkpoint warned would-be attendees that the area was full.

"We're at Disneyland levels of crowding. The security check won't finish in time for you to see the parade," one policeman with a loudspeaker warned those still in line.

Yoko Mori, 64, lined up from 10 am to secure a spot, traveling from Saitama outside Tokyo.

"We came here because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and we wanted to celebrate this event," she told AFP, flanked by her friend Chiyoe Ito, 70.

After the national anthem was played, the royal couple boarded a specially made car featuring the chrysanthemum imperial logo on the sides and the royal flag on its bonnet.

The parade of nearly five kilometers through central Tokyo was originally scheduled for October 22, but the government postponed it after more than 80 people were killed by Typhoon Hagibis last month.

Naruhito officially ascended the throne earlier this year, with an elaborate and ritual-bound ceremony last month proclaiming his rise before dignitaries from around the world.


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