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.
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US President Donald Trump met with Japan's Emperor Akihito who took the Chrysanthemum Throne only three weeks ago, after his father stepped down in the first abdication in two centuries.
Trump has the honour of being the first head of state invited to meet Emperor Naruhito since he assumed power May 1 after his father stepped down, the first abdication in about two centuries.
Emperor Naruhito inherited Imperial regalia and seals as proof of his succession and pledged in his first public address to follow his father's example in devoting himself to peace and staying close to the people.
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.
The lower house has passed a motion in favour of allowing abdication. Emperor Akihito, 83, is looking to step down, saying that his age might hamper his ability to carry out his duties.
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