The day-long ceremonies happened on the royal residence, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Other than the Emperor and Empress, quite a few different members of the royal household attended the ceremonies, in addition to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and representatives from international embassies.
“I deeply ponder the duty of Crown Prince and can discharge my duties,” mentioned Akishino in entrance of the attendees, most of whom have been sporting masks, in footage by public broadcaster NHK.
The occasion included the normal ceremony of inheriting a “guardian sword” for the crown prince. Emperor Naruhito handed down the sword to Akishino, symbolizing the choice of the following successor to the throne.
The occasion had initially been scheduled for April however was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and was scaled again as infections saved rising. Massive occasions like a celebratory banquet have been canceled.
Final April, Emperor Emeritus Akihito formally abdicated, changing into the nation’s first monarch to step down from the Chrysanthemum Throne in two centuries. After having coronary heart surgical procedure and overcoming prostate most cancers lately, he cited well being causes for stepping down.
The inauguration of his son Naruhito ushered within the “Reiwa” period. Every emperor’s reign is marked by their period title; the title “Reiwa” was tailored from an eighth century anthology of traditional poetry, and means “lovely concord.”
Akishino, 54, is now first in line for the throne. He’s one in every of three heirs in whole, the others being his 14-year-old son Hisahito, and Akihito’s youthful brother, 84-year-old Prince Hitachi.
Underneath Japanese regulation, solely males can inherit the throne — so Naruhito’s solely youngster, 18-year-old Princess Aiko, is ineligible.
This wasn’t at all times the case; empresses dominated Japan at varied occasions over a number of centuries. However as Japan modernized, leaders modified the position of the emperor and established a male-only succession, formally barring girls from being enthroned in 1889.
In current a long time, there was debate to introduce laws to permit girls to ascend the throne, however the beginning of Hisahito — the primary male inheritor born in 40 years — put an finish to that dialogue.
Japan’s succession regulation gained nationwide consideration once more in 2018 after Princess Ayako married a daily citizen — a transfer that pressured her to surrender her royal standing and allowance. The identical rule doesn’t apply to male members of the royal household.
Adjustments to the regulation are anathema to conservatives, however debate over how to make sure a steady succession is more likely to intensify.
One possibility is to permit girls to retain their imperial standing after marriage and inherit or cross the throne to their kids, a change that the majority atypical Japanese residents favor, in accordance with surveys. Throughout the fast royal household, this feature would apply to Princess Aiko and Hisahito’s two elder sisters.
CNN’s Junko Ogura contributed to this report.