President represents Malta in enthronement ceremony of Japan’s new Emperor
Japan’s monarchy is the oldest in the world which still appoints the heir to the throne as Emperor. The new Emperor, Naruhito, ascended to the throne today during a very ancient ceremony at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace. The ceremony was attended by various dignitaries and Malta was represented by President George Vella.
The 59-year old Emperor officially began his reign last May after his father, Akihito, abdicated. However, the official enthronement ceremony is always carried out months after and follows centuries old rites.
Wearing ceremonial dresses, Emperor Naruhito and his wife Masako each sat on a throne, with the new Emperor reading the formal proclamation that he will serve as a symbol of the state and unity of the people. Beside him were an old sword and a jewel, two of three sacred treasures of the Japanese monarchy which are kept secret and are the symbols of the Emperor’s power.
Some 2,000 guests, including heads of state, members of royal families and representatives of 190 countries attended the ceremony. Malta was represented by President and Mrs Vella.
The President said, “the speech by the Emperor was very short in which he spoke about his wish for success of the Japanese people and to use their skills to further enhance prosperity. A nother short speech was delivered by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to recognise what the Emperor said. What impresses you is that you have Presidents, Prime Ministers from every country and the way that the ceremony was organised is impressive. This evening during the official dinner one has the opportunity to convey the best wishes to the Emperor”.
The half-hour ceremony ended with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proclaiming for three times “Bonzai” for a long life to the new Emperor.
Millions of Japanese followed the ceremony from their homes, after the traditional parade on Tokjo’s major roads during which the Emperor greets the Japanese people was cancelled for next month as a sign of respect to the recent typhoon storm which left destruction and 80 persons dead.