• Kyodo

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Two new ambassadors to Japan presented their credentials to Emperor Naruhito on Wednesday as ceremonies marking the arrival of foreign envoys to their post were held for the first time since the end of a three-month coronavirus pandemic suspension.

During the ceremony in the Imperial Palace’s Matsu no Ma room, the emperor and the ambassadors of Tonga and Rwanda wore face masks and refrained from shaking each other’s hands to lessen the risk of infection.

Tevita Suka Mangisi, Tonga’s envoy and Ernest Rwamucyo, Rwanda’s representative, decided against riding in a horse-drawn carriage from Tokyo Station as is often done as part of the ceremonial trip to the palace.

Instead, they chose to ride in a car so as not to cause crowds to gather on the roadside.

Including the two, six newly appointed ambassadors to Japan had been left as ambassadors-in-waiting as of Friday because they needed to hand credentials from the head of their countries to the emperor. The remaining four are from Azerbaijan, East Timor, Mali and Tanzania.

All the ambassadors have already started work after submitting the copies of their credentials to the Foreign Ministry.

The Tongan and Rwandan ambassadors were scheduled to present their credentials April 9, but the event was canceled after the government declared a state of emergency due to the pandemic.

Before Wednesday’s event, the most recent such ceremony to be held was on March 17.

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