Japanese Emperor Naruhito formally proclaimed his ascendancy to the throne in a centuries-old ceremony attended by dignitaries from more than 180 countries, pledging to fulfil his duty as a symbol of the state.
Naruhito, 59, becomes 126th emperor at the stroke of midnight, ushering in "Reiwa" imperial era, following his father Akihito's historic abdication from the Chrysanthemum Throne, the world's oldest monarchy.
Akihito's reign runs through midnight when his son Crown Prince Naruhito becomes the new emperor.
Japan’s Emperor Akihito, 85, stunned the Japanese nation in 2016 when he signalled his desire to take a back seat, citing his age and health problems.
A 10-member Imperial Household Council chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on the timing of Akihito's abdication. Crown Prince Naruhito, 57, will ascend to the throne.
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