Japan's new Emperor Naruhito waves as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan May 1, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON)
Japan's new Emperor Naruhito formally ascended the Throne on Wednesday, receiving the sacred imperial regalia, that represents his rightful succession to the monarchy.
Naruhito's father, Akihito, abdicated the Throne on Tuesday at the age of 85 after ascending the Throne on 1989 upon his father's Emperor Hirohito's death.
The reason behind Akihito's abdication is his old age and declining health. Naruhito succeeds the Throne at the age of 59 after his father ruled for three decades.
Naruhito, the first emperor born after World War II and the first to be raised solely by his parents, expressed gratitude for their work and said he felt solemn at the thought of the burden he is taking on.
"I pledge that I will always think of the people, and while drawing close to them, fulfill my duties as a symbol of the Japanese state and the unity of the Japanese people in accordance with the constitution," Naruhito said in his first remarks as emperor after the enthronement ceremony.
"I sincerely hope for the happiness of the people and further progress of the country, and for world peace," he said in the Imperial Palace's "Matsu no Ma," or Hall of Pine.
Naruhito was educated at Oxford University, while his wife, Masako, is a former diplomat with a degree from Harvard.
In his limited public statements prior to the enthronement, Naruhito claimed that he believes the monarchy should adjust to modernity.
“I believe that just as new winds blow in every age, the role of the imperial family changes in each age as well,” Naruhito said at a news conference on his birthday in 2017. “I would like to learn various things from the past and firmly carry forward traditions that have been passed down since ancient times, while also pursuing the ideal role that the imperial family should take in the future.”Reuters contributed to this story.