Parade celebrates Emperor and Empress Parade celebrates Emperor and Empress
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Parade celebrates Emperor and Empress

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    On Sunday, the Japanese Emperor and Empress were honored in a parade through central Tokyo. The event marked the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito and tens of thousands of people gathered on the streets to offer congratulations.
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    The procession ran from the Imperial Palace to the Emperor's residence, the Akasaka Estate. Performances were held along the route by bands from the Imperial Household Agency and the police, among other organizations.

    The 400 meter-long motorcade consisted of 46 vehicles, including police motorcycles. The couple traveled in an open-top limousine and waved to crowds along the way. They were saluted by members of the Imperial Guard and the Self-Defense Forces as they passed.

    Emperor Naruhito wore a tailcoat while Empress Masako wore a décolleté robe and a tiara she received from Empress Emerita Michiko. Crowds cheered and took photos as they approached.

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    "The Empress looked beautiful," said one woman from Chiba Prefecture whose home was damaged in Typhoon Hagibis. "It was moving."

    "The parade is something that happens once in a lifetime," said a 7 year-old boy who attended with his mother. "I knew I had to come."

    Crown Prince and Princess Akishino, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also took part in the 30-minute procession.

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    Members of the Self-Defense Forces and the Imperial Guard salute the Imperial Couple as they pass.

    The parade is known as the "Shukuga-Onretsu-no-gi" and was originally planned for October 22nd following the Emperor's enthronement ceremony. But it was postponed so the government could focus on recovery work in areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis.

    In a ceremony in front of the Imperial Palace on Saturday, Emperor Naruhito offered his condolences to family members of those who lost their lives during the disaster. He added he hoped that people forced to stay in shelters would be able to resume their normal lives as soon as possible.

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    The Emperor gave a ceremonial address at an event held on Saturday.

    The parade was the last of a series of five constitutional functions related to the accession which took place on May 1st.

    But rituals and events related to the enthronement will continue for about another month. They include the "Daijosai", or Great Thanksgiving Ceremony, held only once during an Emperor's reign, in the year following his accession.

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