Crown Prince Akishino was formally declared first in line to the throne on Sunday and vowed to fulfill his duties at a ceremony in Tokyo that had been postponed for seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rikkoshi no Rei rite for the crown prince concluded a series of imperial succession rituals held since his elder brother Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne in May last year following the abdication of their 86-year-old father former Emperor Akihito — the first Japanese monarch to step down in over 200 years.

Emperor Naruhito, 60, dressed in a traditional dark orange robe, proclaimed his younger brother as crown prince to the people of Japan and the world at the Rikkoshi Senmei no Gi ceremony held in the morning at the Matsu no Ma stateroom of the Imperial Palace, more than a year after Naruhito ascended to the throne in May last year.