Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako acknowledge well-wishers from the Imperial Palace veranda on May 4. (Tatsuya Shimada)

Emperor Naruhito greeted tens of thousands of well-wishers from the Imperial Palace veranda on May 4, his first appearance before the public since he ascended the Chrysanthemum Throne three days earlier.

The Imperial Household Agency opened the gate to the Imperial Palace at 9:10 a.m., 20 minutes earlier than scheduled, as an estimated 50,000 people were already waiting in line to glimpse the successor of Emperor Emeritus Akihito.

“Banzai Reiwa!” and other cheers erupted from the crowd when the emperor and his wife, Empress Masako, appeared on the veranda around 10 a.m. Reiwa refers to the imperial era under Naruhito’s reign.

After expressing his gratitude to the public for celebrating his ascension, Naruhito said, “I hope that Japan will further prosper, while exploring world peace by working together with other countries.”

The couple was accompanied by Naruhito’s younger brother, Crown Prince Fumihito, and his wife, Crown Princess Kiko, their two daughters--Princess Mako and Princess Kako--and other members of the imperial family.

The temperature at the palace grounds reached 24.8 degrees around noon, the same level as in early June.

According to the Imperial Guard Headquarters, 121 people were treated for symptoms of dehydration and five were rushed to a hospital. But they were not in a life-threatening condition.