Japanese Emperor Naruhito formally proclaimed his ascension to the throne on Tuesday (October 22) in a centuries-old ceremony attended by dignitaries from more than 180 countries, pledging to fulfill his duty as a symbol of the state.
The first Japanese emperor born after World War Two, Naruhito acceded to the throne when his father, Akihito, became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in two centuries after worrying that advancing age might make it hard to perform official duties.
For the main ceremony in the Matsu-no-Ma, or Hall of Pine, the most prestigious room in the palace, Naruhito wore a traditional burnt-orange robe and headdress, as his father did nearly three decades ago.
Naruhito’s grandfather, Hirohito, in whose name Japanese troops fought World War Two, was treated as a god but renounced his divine status after Japan’s defeat in 1945. Emperors now have no political authority.
A court banquet is due to be held on Tuesday evening, before Naruhito and Empress Masako host a tea party for foreign royalty on Wednesday afternoon (October 23). (Reuters)
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, often floated as a future Japanese premier, said on Monday (July 13) the Olympics must go ahead next year as a symbol of world unity in overcoming the novel coronavirus, even as her city grapples with stubborn spikes in cases.
The 2020 Olympics were scheduled to start this month but were postponed because of the coronavirus. Koike has pledged to win public support for the Games, although a media survey showed a majority think they should be cancelled or postponed again.
“I want to host them as a symbol of the world coming together to overcome this tough situation and of strengthened bonds among humankind,” Koike told Reuters in an online interview. She declined to specify a deadline for deciding if the Games could go ahead.
Tokyo’s jump in COVID-19 cases comes as Abe’s government prepares to launch a campaign to promote domestic tourism, but that has raised concern about spreading the virus outside the capital. (Reuters)
Tokyo Olympics organizers expect to be able to use all the venues as originally planned at next year’s rearranged Games, several Japanese media outlets reported on Thursday (July 9).
Securing venues was a top priority for organisers after the Games were pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kyodo and NHK, citing unnamed sources, said they were now confident they would be tied down for Olympics use again.
However, at his regular weekly news conference, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said the reports were “optimistic” and that nothing had been announced.
Last month, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said 80% of all venues needed had been secured, with the Athlete’s Village and Tokyo Big Sight, the planned media centre, among those yet to be fully secured.
Thursday’s reports also said the competition schedule would remain largely unchanged and that all tickets holders would be eligible for refunds, and that organisers would seek approval of these decisions from the IOC’s General Assembly on July 17.
Asked to confirm those details, Takaya said nothing had been decided and Tokyo 2020 did not expect to seek approval from the IOC next week. (Reuters)
People in southwestern Japan were busy cleaning up on Wednesday (July 8) following the aftermath of torrential rain that has pounded the area since the weekend killing dozens of people in floods and landslides.
In Hitoyoshi, a severe flood of the Kumagawa River destroyed houses along the riverbanks. Ruined home appliances and furniture lined local streets, while residents shovelled mud and bagged garbage. An excavator worked to clear debris.
As of Wednesday, 59 people have been confirmed dead, including 18 in Hitoyoshi. Seventeen people remain missing.
Meanwhile, the heavy rain moved into central Japan’s Nagano and Gifu prefectures. The country’s meteorological agency issued a heavy rain emergency in the two prefectures early Wednesday but downgraded the alert to a warning later in the day.
Water levels of rivers in the region were seen rising and officials are telling residents to stay vigilant. (Reuters)
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