Tomorrow in the Land of the Rising Sun will begin the era of Reiwa.
Today, April 30, in Tokyo, the emperor Akihito abdicated the Chrysanthemum throne. For the first time in 200 years, the emperor resigned on his own will.
The 10-minute ceremony, which was broadcast on television, was held in the Emperor’s throne room of the Imperial Palace at 5 pm local time. The ceremony was attended by about 300 guests, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and members of his cabinet, heads of chambers of parliament and a judge of the Supreme Court. Of course, there were also members of the imperial family – Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko.
After the Emperor entered the hall, the chamberlains brought the Imperial Regalia – the sacred sword and precious jasper, as well as the state and personal seal of His Imperial Majesty.
Before the monarch addressed the people of the Land of the Rising Sun for the last time, Prime Minister Abe took the floor and thanked His Imperial Majesty for his work for the good of the nation. Akihito himself said: “I am deeply grateful for the people that accepted me as a symbol and supported me. I sincerely wish, together with the empress, that the Reiwa era which begins tomorrow will be a stable and fruitful one. I pray, with all my heart, for peace and happiness for all the people in Japan and around the world.”
Recall, 85-year-old Akihito expressed a desire to lay down imperial powers for health reasons in 2016. According to the law, the emperor of Japan holds the throne until the end of his days, but for Akihito – for 30 years acting as monarch – the parliament passed the so-called individual law as a special exception.
Tomorrow in Tokyo will be a ceremony of ascension to the throne of 59-year-old Emperor Naruhito. The Heisei era on the Chrysanthemum throne is over, the Reiwa era begins.