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Gov't mulls postponing Emperor's enthronement parade until Nov. 10 due to typhoon damage

A motorcade starts from the Imperial Palace during a rehearsal for a parade to show Emperor Naruhito to the people after the enthronement ceremony and to receive their good wishes, in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Oct. 6, 2019. (Mainichi/Junichi Sasaki)

The government is preparing to postpone a parade next week in celebration of Emperor Naruhito's enthronement until Nov. 10 in light of damage caused by Typhoon Hagibis.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier told reporters in the Miyagi Prefecture town of Marumori on Oct. 17 that the government was considering postponing the parade. The government will decide on the schedule in the near future.

The "Shukuga-Onretsu-no-gi" Imperial motorcar procession was scheduled to start from the Imperial Palace and proceed to the Akasaka Imperial Grounds in Tokyo, with Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the throne in May, and Empress Masako aboard an open car on the afternoon of Oct. 22.

Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony, called "Sokuirei-Seiden-no-gi," will be held as planned at the Imperial Palace on Oct. 22. The purpose of the enthronement ceremony is for the Emperor to proclaim his enthronement and to receive felicitations from representatives from home and abroad.

As dignitaries from over 190 countries, regions and international organizations are scheduled to attend the enthronement ceremony, it is apparently difficult to reschedule the event. In the ritual, Emperor Naruhito will declare his accession to the throne while standing on the "Takamikura" stage.

In the past, some of the celebratory events for the Imperial Family were postponed due to the effects of natural disasters and other factors. While the announcement of the informal engagement of then Princess Sayako (current Sayako Kuroda) had originally been slated for November 2004, it was pushed back twice following the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake and the demise of Princess Kikuko, the widow of Prince Takamatsu, that same year. Sayako Kuroda is the younger sister of Emperor Naruhito and the eldest daughter of Emperor Emeritus Akihito, who abdicated as emperor in April this year.

In 2017, the announcement of Princess Mako's informal engagement was also delayed by two months from July to September due to the effects of the torrential downpours that hit northern Kyushu in southwestern Japan. Princess Mako is the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and is a niece of Emperor Naruhito.

More recently, Crown Prince Akishino's wife, Crown Princess Kiko, and their son Prince Hisahito called off their scheduled attendance at the Rugby World Cup match between Japan and Scotland on Oct. 13 at the International Stadium Yokohama (Nissan Stadium) in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis.

(Japanese original by Kenta Miyahara and Takenori Noguchi, Political News Department)

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