Thousands watch rare Japan imperial parade

10 Novembre, 2019, 15:38 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Police officers stand guard around Japan's Imperial Palace ahead of Sunday's parade

In the minutes before the parade began, police at the Hibiya crossing in central Tokyo warned would-be attendees that the area was full.

Akihito's abdication this year brought Naruhito to the throne and marked the start of the Reiwa era.

The royal couple emerged from the palace moments before 3.00pm (0600 GMT), with the emperor wearing formal western clothing and the empress dressed in a long cream gown and jacket, wearing a tiara passed down by her predecessor.

"We're at Disneyland levels of crowding".

Yoko Mori, 64, lined up from 10:00 am to snag a spot to see the parade, travelling from Saitama outside Tokyo.

"We came here because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and we wanted to celebrate this event", she told AFP, flanked by her friend Chiyoe Ito, 70. "I concentrated so much on taking a photo, I barely looked with my own eyes".

Hours before the parade, Yukari Oshita said she felt a closeness to Naruhito, the first emperor born in post-war Japan.

The parade was originally due to take place on October 22, when the emperor officially proclaimed his enthronement before dignitaries from about 190 countries, but it was postponed as Japan grappled with the aftermath of a devastating typhoon.

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"And Empress Masako is someone who can be a role model for modern women with full-time jobs".

Under a cloudless blue sky, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, Harvard-educated former diplomat, waved from an open-top Toyota Century limousine, which cruised through streets lined with spectators and police.

She has struggled to adjust to cloistered royal life, suffering an adjustment disorder that led to a scaling back of her public appearances.

The sunny streets of Tokyo are already filling up with excited crowds ahead of Emperor Naruhito's enthronement procession.

She won plaudits for her assured performance when the USA president, Donald Trump, became the first foreign leader to meet the new emperor, winning praise in particular for her ability to converse in fluent English. It was a stark contrast from last month's enthronement ceremony, in which both wore traditional robes.

About 16.1 billion yen ($147 million) has been earmarked for succession-related ceremonies throughout the year, including Sunday's parade, up 30% from Akihito's succession three decades ago.

Tens of thousands of people gathered on Saturday at a national festival to celebrate the enthronement of Japan's Emperor Naruhito with dancers and pop stars offering jubilant performances.

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