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Japan holds parade rehearsal for Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony

KYODO

A parade rehearsal for Emperor Naruhito’s upcoming enthronement ceremony was held on Sunday in Tokyo, restricting traffic on the 4.6-kilometer route from the Imperial Palace to his residence.

A convoy of about 50 cars left the palace at 7 a.m. and arrived at the Akasaka Estate about 30 minutes later, while police officers checked security arrangements along the route.

Musicians from the Self-Defense Forces also confirmed that the timing of their performance would be right during the parade on Oct. 22.

A convertible sedan to be used by Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako for the parade, which will follow a ceremony proclaiming the emperor’s ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, was not used in the rehearsal.

Dignitaries from over 190 countries and international organizations are expected to attend the ceremony for the emperor, who ascended the throne on May 1.

In Washington on Friday, the White House said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will represent the United States at the ceremony.

The U.S. government had initially made arrangements to send Vice President Mike Pence to the ceremony. But it apparently gave up the idea in consideration of other diplomatic schedules.

Chao, who was born in Taiwan, served as U.S. secretary of labor from 2001 to 2009 and is the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to a president’s Cabinet in the country’s history, according to the Department of Transportation.

U.S. President Donald Trump has already visited Japan twice this year and it had been seen as highly unlikely that he would make another visit in October. During his visit in May, Trump became the first foreign leader to meet with Emperor Naruhito after he took the throne.

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