• Kyodo


The government said Tuesday it will send invitations to 195 nations for events in the fall to mark Crown Prince Naruhito’s enthronement, following Emperor Akihito’s abdication next month.

The abdication ceremony, set to begin at 5 p.m. on April 30, is expected to be attended by about 300 guests, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Cabinet members. Abe will offer words of gratitude before the 85-year-old Emperor speaks to the representatives of the people, the government said.

All 195 nations are recognized by Japan as states.

A banquet to be hosted by Abe and his wife Akie on Oct. 23 for the new Emperor will stage Japanese cultural performances, which will be overseen by kyogen actor Mansai Nomura, a supervisor of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics opening and closing ceremonies, the government added.

Nomura, 52, is a leading performer of the traditional style of comic drama. The previous banquet, held in November 1990 to celebrate the current Emperor’s enthronement, also featured kabuki and noh performances.

“We will make thorough preparations so that we can observe our country’s historic turning point without any difficulties,” Abe said at a government meeting on Tuesday.

Regarding the appointment of Nomura as general adviser for the banquet, a senior government official said the actor is “the most suitable person from the standpoint of entertaining foreign guests with Japanese traditional culture.” The event is expected to draw around 900 guests from home and abroad.

The Emperor expressed his desire to step down in a rare video message in August 2016, citing concerns that he might not be able to fulfill official duties due to his advanced age.

In June 2017, Japan enacted one-off legislation enabling him to abdicate, which will make him the first monarch to do so in the nation in around 200 years, and be succeeded by his 59-year-old elder son.

On the morning of May 1, the new Emperor will inherit traditional Imperial regalia, such as the Sacred Sword and Curved Jewels, as proof of ascension to the throne, in the Kenji to Shokei no Gi ceremony.

Later in the day, he will meet the representatives of the public for the first time in the Sokui go Choken no Gi rite.

Male guests at both rituals are supposed to wear tailcoats, but in the Taiirei Seiden no Gi farewell ceremony to mark the Emperor’s abdication, set for April 30, the dress code for them will be morning coats, while female guests will be asked to wear long dresses, the government said.

Attendees can also wear formal kimono, it added.

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