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Japanese public to be able to meet new emperor on May 4

The Imperial Household Agency of Japan announced Monday that the public would be able to meet their new emperor on 4 May.

The new Emperor and Empress will greet the public on the balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on 4 May, three days after taking the throne. They will be joined by other members of the Imperial Family with the exception of the then Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko.

Their daughter, Princess Aiko, will no doubt be there; however, due to Japanese succession laws, as a female, she cannot ascend the throne after her father.

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Crown Prince Naruhito will become Japan’s next emperor on 1 May – the day after the abdication of his 86-year-old father, Emperor Akihito on 30 April.

Akihito will be the first Japanese emperor in nearly two centuries to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne.

Plans to allow the public to greet the Emperor had originally been scheduled in October after the Sokuirei Seiden no Gi ceremony which will proclaim Naruhito’s enthronement. However, it was decided the date should be moved to earlier in the year, thanks, in part, to the Prime Minister’s Office strongly recommending the change.

Another reason for moving it forward is due to the traditional Golden Week holiday which begins on 27 April. As a result of the abdication and enthronement, the holiday has been extended by ten days. Golden Week is an annual week holiday with various separate Japanese holidays during that time.

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Naruhito’s father received the congratulatory messages from the public six days after his 1990 enthronement.

Emperor Akihito announced his intent to abdicate in a rare televised address to the nation in August 2016. He cited his old age and health as his reason for stepping down.

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