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In his New Year’s address released Wednesday, Emperor Naruhito said he hopes that 2020 will be a happy year free of any major disasters. The message was released as he begins his first full year as the symbol of state after ascending the chrysanthemum throne last year.

The 59-year-old emperor expressed his relief at completing a series of ceremonies accompanying his enthronement on May 1, the day after his father, former Emperor Akihito, abdicated as the first Japanese monarch to do so in about 200 years.

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