New Emperor Naruhito vowed in a ceremony marking his enthronement on May 1 to carry out his responsibility as the symbol of the state in the Reiwa Era.

“I 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,” he said in the Sokui-go-Choken-no-Gi ceremony, which was held in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Naruhito, 59, also said, “I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world."

The ceremony is an event in which a new emperor meets representatives of the people for the first time after the accession to the throne.

New Empress Masako, 55, and other imperial family members attended the ceremony along with Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and representatives of local governments.

Earlier in the day, the Kenji-to-Shokei-no-Gi ceremony, an enthronement rite for inheriting the imperial regalia and seals, was held in the Matsu-no-Ma state room of the palace from 10:30 a.m.

Among those in attendance were Abe and his Cabinet ministers, the heads of both chambers of the Diet and the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The rite limits imperial family members who are allowed to participate to adult males who are in line of succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Therefore, only Crown Prince Fumihito, the first in line, and Prince Hitachi, younger brother of Emperor Emeritus Akihito and the third in line of succession, were present. No female imperial family members attended.

Following Naruhito, chamberlains entered the room. They carried a sword and a jewel, which are two of the three sacred treasures including a mirror, and the state and privy seals, which are used by the emperor in state acts, and placed them on tables in front of the emperor.

The rite lasted five minutes.

The Sokui-go-Choken-no-Gi started in the same room soon after 11:10 a.m. Naruhito entered the room along with Masako, who was wearing a long dress, and other imperial family members followed.

In the ceremony, Naruhito declared, “I have hereby succeeded to the throne pursuant to the Constitution of Japan and the Special Measures Law on the Imperial House Law.”

Following the new emperor's declaration, Abe said, “Representing the people, I express congratulations from my heart.”

Prior to the ceremonies, Abe said in an informal gathering of Cabinet ministers held after an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, “I celebrate the enthronement of the emperor from my heart. The government is determined to make a brilliant Reiwa Era.”

(This article was written by Ayako Nakada and Yasuhiko Shima.)

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The full text of the English translation of Emperor Naruhito's speech as provided by the Imperial Household Agency is as follows:

I have hereby succeeded to the throne pursuant to the Constitution of Japan and the Special Measures Law on the Imperial House Law.

When I think about the important responsibility I have assumed, I am filled with a sense of solemnity.

Looking back, His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus, since acceding to the throne, performed each of his duties in earnest for more than 30 years, while praying for world peace and the happiness of the people, and at all times sharing in the joys and sorrows of the people. He showed profound compassion through his own bearing. I would like to express my heartfelt respect and appreciation of the comportment shown by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people of Japan.

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.