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Japan may delay Emperor Naruhito's enthronement parade amid Typhoon Hagibis aftermath

Kyodo, Staff Report

The government is considering postponing the enthronement parade for Emperor Naruhito slated for Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday, apparently in consideration of the people hit by last week’s powerful typhoon.

Abe made the comment during his visit to the town of Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, which was severely damaged by Typhoon Hagibis.

A government source said the date is likely to be set for Nov. 10, much later than the alternative date of Oct. 26 in the event of inclement weather on Tuesday.

The enthronement ceremony on the same day is expected to be held as planned. Dignitaries from over 190 countries and international organizations will attend the ceremony for Emperor Naruhito, who ascended to the throne on May 1.

In the parade, Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will be driven in a convertible sedan, traveling along the approximately 5-kilometer route from the Imperial Palace to Akasaka Palace in around 30 minutes.

A parade rehearsal was held on Oct. 6, restricting traffic on the 4.6-kilometer route. 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 used the rehearsal to confirm the timing of their performance.

Typhoon Hagibis left at least 77 people dead and more than a dozen people missing after it lashed Tokyo and other areas in central, eastern and northeastern regions on Saturday.

More than 1,700 houses were fully or partially destroyed, while over 33,000 houses were flooded.

On Tuesday, Imperial Household Agency vice head Yasuhiko Nishimura said at a regular news conference that the imperial couple are mourning for the victims of the typhoon, and are hoping that the missing will be found and that people’s lives will go back to normal soon.

Nishimura also said that the agency will cancel events to celebrate Empress Emerita Michiko’s birthday on Sunday. She is turning 85.