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Japan emperor to proclaim enthronement in ritual-bound ceremony

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Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito will formally proclaim his ascension to the throne next week in a ritual-bound ceremony, but the after-effects of deadly typhoon will cast a shadow over proceedings.

Naruhito officially assumed his duties as emperor on May 1, a day after his father became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in 200 years.

But the transition will not be complete until his new role is officially proclaimed on Tuesday, in a series of events expected to be attended by foreign dignitaries from nearly 200 countries.

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The event will come just over a week after Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Japan, killing nearly 80 people and leaving a trail of destruction.

With people still searching for missing loved ones and living in shelters, the government has opted to postpone a key part of the ceremony — an open-top car parade that had been intended to introduce the royal pair to the public.

But the rest of the day’s ceremonies will go ahead, starting with rituals conducted behind closed doors in which Naruhito will “report” the proclamation to his ancestors in the ancient royal dynasty.

Hours later, he and his wife Empress Masako will appear at the main event in the Imperial Palace’s most prestigious hall, the Pine Room.

Naruhito, in a ceremonial outfit dominated by a voluminous draped outer robe in brown gold — a colour worn only by the emperor — will declare his enthronement from the “Takamikura” throne.

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Empress Masako, a Harvard-educated former diplomat, will wear an elaborate outfit known as “junihitoe” or many-layered robe, and be alongside the emperor on a slightly smaller throne.

Her silk robes will be so heavy it will be difficult for her to move, and attendants will trail her adjusting her outfit.

– ‘Banzai!’ –

The ceremony will be conducted in the presence of an ancient sword and jewel — part of the imperial regalia said to have been handed down by a goddess and considered crucial evidence of an emperor’s legitimacy.

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Some 2,500 guests, including foreign dignitaries and royalty from more than 190 countries will rise to drum beats before the proclamation.

After it is complete, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will exclaim “banzai” (“long live the Emperor”) three times, completing the process.

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While the parade has been put off until November 10, a banquet for foreign dignitaries and local government representatives will go ahead, along with a tea party at the royal residence the following day.

And Abe will also host a banquet for 900 foreign leaders and delegates at a Tokyo hotel.

The foreign visitors will range from royalty including Britain’s Prince Charles, to government officials including South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon.

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As part of the festivities, hundreds of thousands of people convicted of minor offences will be pardoned.

– Royal succession worries –

Oxford-educated Naruhito faces a delicate balancing act as emperor, seeking to continue his father’s legacy of bringing the monarchy closer to the people, while upholding the centuries-old traditions of the Chrysanthemum Throne.

He has spoken up to defend his wife, who struggled with the transition to cloistered royal life after leaving behind a promising diplomatic career to marry Naruhito.

The couple have one child, a 17-year-old daughter called Aiko, who cannot inherit the throne because she is female.

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With Naruhito’s ascension, his brother Akishino became crown prince. Akishino’s son — 13-year-old Hisahito — is currently the only other remaining successor.

The dwindling ranks of male heirs in the royal family has rekindled debate about allowing female royals to ascend the throne, but so far there have been no formal moves to accommodate the possibility.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Biden hammers ‘despicable’ Trump for saying how happy George Floyd would be looking down on America

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Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Friday hammered President Donald Trump for saying that late police brutality victim George Floyd was probably smiling as he looked down on the United States right now.

In addressing Trump's comments about Floyd being happy for America less than two weeks after dying at the hands of police officers, Biden said Trump showed little understanding about why Floyd's death was so significant for the country.

"He was speaking of a man who was brutally killed by an act of needless violence, and by a larger tide of injustice that has metastasized on this president's watch," Biden said. "He's moved to split us based on race, religion, and ethnicity."

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A black PBS journalist just burst Trump’s bubble after he boasted of racial progress — and he rudely dismissed her

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At a press statement on Friday, President Donald Trump bragged that the United States would soon have “the strongest economy in the world” — only to be challenged by PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor when the journalist cited actual economic figures.

The press conference came at a time when the U.S. is being rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and high unemployment as well as large protests in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Despite all that, Trump’s tone was strident rather than empathetic as he bragged, “What’s happened to our country, and what you now see…. is the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African-American community, for the Asian-American, for the Hispanic-American community, for women, for everything. Because our economy is so strong…. We’re going to have the strongest economy in the world. We’re almost there now.”

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Black man finds racist graffiti on his garage after emerging from house for the first time after recovering from coronavirus

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After leaving his house for the first time in three months after recovering from a bout with coronavirus, a 74-year-old Washington man became the victim of a hate crime, Q13 Fox reports.

Walking out of his house for the first time on Tuesday morning, Robert Batie found his house vandalized by racist slurs.

“I’m 74 years old, I shouldn’t have to deal with this, so how do you describe how you feel when you come out of the bedroom and you’ve kicked the virus and you’re thankful that way, and you’re trying to mow the lawn and you see this?” he said.

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