Tens of thousands of people lined up on a 5-kilometer stretch in central Tokyo Sunday to catch a rare glimpse of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.

The motorcade was one of the final events of Naruhito’s ascension to the throne.

FILE – Japan’s Emperor Naruhito, center, leaves at the end of the enthronement ceremony where he officially proclaimed his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Oct. 22, 2019.

Naruhito officially began his reign on the Chrysanthemum Throne in May, when his 85-year-old father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, officially abdicated after four decades, citing failing health. Akihito, who succeeded his father, World War II-era Emperor Hirohito, was the first Japanese emperor to abdicate the throne in 200 years.

The 30-minute parade Sunday began at the Imperial Palace.  

Some onlookers had camped out overnight in an effort to see the Japanese royalty in a specially-designed Toyota convertible.

The parade was originally scheduled for last month but was postponed in the wake of Typhoon Hagibis, a massive storm that left 80 dead.

Security was extremely tight for the royal event.  “We’re at Disneyland levels of crowding,” a policeman said on a loudspeaker minutes before the parade began, “The security check won’t finish in time for you to see the parade.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government chose the name “Reiwa” for Emperor Naruhito’s reign, which the prime minister explained as culture created by and nurtured by people who “beautifully care about each other.”

 

 


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