thousands of Japanese cheer for their new emperor

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AFP, published on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 07:49

Thousands of people waving the Japanese flag cheered on Sunday the new Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, who set off for a rare convertible parade through Tokyo under a bright autumn sun.

This first parade of the imperial couple since their marriage in 1993, perceived by the Japanese public as the culmination of the ceremonies of accession to the throne and one of the very rare occasions to see the emperor, was originally scheduled for 22 October.

But it had been postponed out of respect for the victims of Typhoon Hagibis, who had killed more than 80 people a few days earlier and caused enormous damage.

Part of the audience had camped all night to ensure a good place along the brief course of 4.6 km and half an hour only.

Dressed in a cream-white dress and wearing a tiara handed by the previous empress, Masako had placed shortly before the start at 3:00 pm (0600 GMT) alongside her husband in a black suit in a black car. Japanese brand with white seats, remodeled for the occasion.

The security device was imposing helicopters being heard in the clear skies of Tokyo since the morning and the police warning a few minutes before the departure that the latecomers would not manage to see the parade because of the length of the scrutiny.

Hours before the time of departure long queues were formed to pass the security checks on the various access areas to see the procession of fifty vehicles.

"I'm curious to see what dress Empress Masako will wear," said Hiroko Kikuta, in her sixties.

"This will be the last opportunity for me to see a parade," said Yukari Oshita, also a sexagenarian.

"The emperor is a little younger than me but we belong to the same generation," she says.

"And Empress Masako can be an example for modern women who have a full-time job," she added.

Polyglot, Masako Owada, born in 1963 into a family of diplomats and trained at Harvard and Oxford Universities, had given up a promising diplomatic career to enter the imperial family.

Naruhito, 59, officially succeeded his father on May 1, but a series of rituals and ceremonies took place last month and continued in November and later in the year. The ceremony to proclaim accession to the throne in the presence of members of royal families and political leaders around the world was held on October 22.



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