Emperor Naruhito ascends the throne
NHK -- May 01
It's the first day of the new Reiwa era in Japan -- full of celebrations and rituals. Emperor Naruhito took the throne at the start of Wednesday -- and has spent the day taking part in ceremonies to mark the historic occasion.

The first one was to show he's inherited the Imperial Regalia from his father who abdicated on Tuesday.

The sacred sword and jewel have been passed down for centuries as proof of an Emperor's status.

Emperor Naruhito also spoke to representatives of the people, including the heads of the three branches of national government.

He said, "In acceding to the Throne, I swear that I will reflect deeply on the course followed by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus and bear in mind the path trodden by past emperors, and will devote myself to self-improvement. I also swear that I will act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people of Japan, while always turning my thoughts to the people and standing with them. I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world."

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered greetings on behalf of the people.

He said, "We respect Your Majesty as the symbol of the State and of the unity of the People.

In a drastically-changing global situation, we are determined to ensure a glorious future for Japan... a country that is peaceful, full of hope, and a place that we can be proud of.

We are also resolved to create an era in which people unite their hearts and develop their culture. We sincerely hope that the Reiwa era will be a peaceful one and the Imperial Family will further prosper. "

Emperor Naruhito is 59 years old.

This is the first Imperial succession from a living Emperor in more than 200 years.

And for the first time in Japan's modern history, the country has a reigning and abdicated Emperor at the same time.

News sources: NHK, Kyodo
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