TOKYO (AP) – Crown Prince Fumihito, younger brother of Japanese Emperor Naruhito, was first formally sworn in for the Crescentheim throne at a traditional palace ceremony, which was postponed for seven months and shortened due to the coronovirus epidemic Has been done.
The ceremony for the 54-year-old crown prince, known as Prince Akishino, culminates in a series of royal ritual rituals that began in May last year, when Naruhito ascended the throne following the renunciation of his 86-year-old father, Akihito.
Inside the palace’s most iconic pine room, 60-year-old Naruhito announced that his younger brother is now officially the prince of the crown, the first in line to succeed the throne of the world’s oldest monarchy.
Naruhito said in his red-brown robe and a headdress, “I declare outside and within the country that Fumitho has now become a prince.” Fumihito, in an orange robe and with his wife, Crown Princess Kiko, pledged in response: “I deeply accept my responsibilities as my prince and fulfill my duties.”
The roughly 15-minute ceremony, initially scheduled for April 19, was postponed by the Government of Japan earlier that month after issuing an emergency due to the epidemic.
The Sunday ceremony was reduced from the original 350 to about 50 attendants, including Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and other top government officials, as well as prefectural representatives and foreign dignitaries.
In a separate, closed ceremony on Sunday, Fumihito inherited a royal sword, symbolizing his status as crown prince.
Other events, including the palace banquet and public signatures of congratulatory messages, have been canceled as part of anti-virus measures.
Sunday’s announcement for the crown prince paves the way for the government to begin a discussion on what to do with the acute shortage of heirs.
Naruhito’s succession left only two younger men to the throne – Fumitho and his 14-year-old son, Hishitho. Naruhito’s 18-year-old daughter, Aiko, and Mukut Rajkumar’s two daughters Mako and Kako are not in the queue because they are women.
Japan’s Imperial House law, largely based on the pre-war constitution, does not allow a female emperor and prohibits women when they marry in common.
In 2005 the government considered the possibility of female monarchs, but the following year the discussion stalled as soon as Hisito was born. Surveys have shown that most of the Japanese support is of female emperors, as Aiko has become increasingly popular.
Suga recently stated that his government would begin studying ways to secure a stable royal succession after the crown prince’s declaration.
Official duties increased during the reign of the highly popular former emperor Akihito, who actively interacted with the public, including visiting disaster-affected areas to console residents.
Fumitho, one of the outspoken members of the royal family, has expressed his views on how the family should adapt to modern times. He said he believed royal duties could be shared equally regardless of gender, although he declined to comment on whether female emperors should be allowed.
The royal family currently consists of 13 women, including six, who may marry in the coming years and lose their royal status.
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