TOKYO (AP) – Emperor Naruhito’s younger brother, Crown Prince Fumihito, was officially sworn in to the throne during a traditional palace ceremony on Sunday, which was postponed for seven months and reduced. caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The ceremony for the 54-year-old crown prince, also known as Prince Akishino, concludes a series of royal succession ceremonies that began last May when Naruhito ascended the throne after his 86-year-old father Akihito abdicated.
Inside the palace’s most prestigious Communication Chamber, 60-year-old Naruhito declares that his brother is now officially the crown prince, the first to succeed the throne of the world̵7;s oldest monarchy.
“I would like to declare at home and abroad that Prince Fumihito is the crown prince,” Naruhito said, dressed in a sepia-colored robe and cap. Fumihito, dressed in orange cloak and accompanied by his wife, Princess Kiko, pledged to respond: “I am acutely aware of my responsibility as crown prince and fulfill my duties.”
The roughly 15-minute ceremony, originally scheduled for April 19, was postponed after the Japanese government declared a state of emergency earlier this month due to the pandemic.
Sunday’s ceremony has been scaled down from the original 350 to about 50 attendees, including Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and other top government officials, as well as provincial representatives and foreign dignitaries. choose.
In a separate, closed ceremony the following Sunday, Fumihito inherited a royal sword that symbolized his crowning crowning status.
Palace parties and other events including the public signing of congratulatory messages were canceled as part of anti-virus measures.
The statement on Sunday for the crown prince paved the way for the government to begin discussing what to do with the severe shortage of heir.
Naruhito’s successor left only two younger men to fit the throne – Fumihito and his 14-year-old son, Hisahito. Naruhito’s 18-year-old daughter, Aiko, and the crown prince’s daughters Mako and Kako are not of the same opinion because they are women.
Japan’s Imperial Law, largely based on the pre-war constitution, did not allow queens and forbid women when they married civilians.
In 2005, the government considered the possibility of having a queen, but discussions halted as soon as Hisahito was born the following year. Surveys have shown that most Japanese are in favor of having a queen, as Aiko is becoming more and more popular.
Suga recently said his government will begin researching ways to ensure a steady royal succession after the crown prince’s announcement.
Official duties increased during the reign of former Emperor Akihito, who actively interacted with the public, including visiting disaster-affected areas to comfort people.
Fumihito, one of the outspoken members of the royal family, has expressed his views on how the family should adapt to modern times. He said he believes the royal quests can be divided equally regardless of gender, although he declined to comment on whether to allow queens or not.
The royal family currently has 13 women, of which 6 may marry and lose royal status in the coming years.
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