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King Filip and Queen Mathilde attend Japanese Emperors’ enthronement

King Filip and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians are among the 2,000 plus dignitaries from more than 180 countries that are in the Japanese capital Tokyo for the enthronement of Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito. Also at the ceremony were Heads of State such as the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, representatives from other royal families such as the British heir to the throne Prince Charles. The French President Emannuel Macron send the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to represent France. The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini is representing the European Union.  

Japanese Emperor Naruhito formally proclaimed his ascendancy to the throne on Tuesday in a centuries-old ceremony attended by dignitaries from more than 180 countries, pledging to fulfil his duty as a symbol of the state.

Naruhito became emperor and his wife Masako became empress on May 1 in a brief ceremony, but Tuesday's "Sokui no Rei" was a more elaborate ritual at the royal palace in which he officially announced his change in status to the world.

"I swear that I will act according to the constitution and fulfil my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people," the 59-year-old emperor declared, his voice slightly hoarse.

"I sincerely hope that Japan will develop further and contribute to the friendship and peace of the international community, and to the welfare and prosperity of human beings through the people's wisdom and ceaseless efforts."

Naruhito is the first Japanese emperor born after World War Two. He acceded to the throne when his father, Akihito, became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in two centuries, worried that advancing age might make it hard to perform official duties.

The long-planned celebrations, for which Japan declared a national holiday, were tempered following Typhoon Hagibis, which killed at least 82 people when it tore through Japan 10 days ago, and pouring rain early on Tuesday. A public parade was postponed until next month to allow the government to devote attention to the typhoon clean-up, while Tuesday's weather forced the palace to scale back the number of courtiers in ancient robes taking part in the courtyard ceremony.

 But just before the ceremony began, the skies cleared and a rainbow appeared over Tokyo.

"Banzai!"

At the sound of a gong in the Matsu-no-Ma, or Hall of Pine, the most prestigious room in the palace, two courtiers bowed deeply and drew back purple curtains on the "Takamikura" - a 6.5-metre (21 feet) high pavilion that weighs about 8 tonnes.

 Naruhito was revealed standing in front of a simple throne, dressed in burnt-orange robes and a black headdress, with an ancient sword and a boxed jewel, two of the so-called Three Sacred Treasures, placed beside him.