Supporters celebrate Japan’s emperor, empress during parade

Nov. 10 (UPI) — New Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako greeted supporters Sunday afternoon in Tokyo during a 30-minute parade from the Imperial Palace to celebrate his enthronement.

The royal couple rode in a Toyota Century convertible as it traveled to the Akasaka Imperial Residence. Empress Masako appeared to wipe away tears as they passed tens of thousands of adoring fans during the parade that passed the Japan legislative building.

The parade was originally scheduled for Oct. 22 but was postponed out of respect for those impacted by Typhoon Hagibis in eastern Japan.

Vehicles in the parade carried Crown Prince Fumihito, the younger brother of the emperor, and his wife, Crown Princess Kiko, along with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The parade’s motorcade included 46 vehicles in all.

More than 26,000 police officers worked the parade route where bags were inspected at some 40 checkpoints and spectators needed identification to enter buildings near the parade.

Japanese officials estimated the turnout at 119,000, roughly 2,000 more than the parade for Naruhito’s father, Emperor Akihito, for his parade when he rose to the thrown in 1990.

Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on May 1 when Emperor Akihito became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate it in about 200 years.

It is not the first time the new emperor had attractive massive crowds in Japan. He drew 140,000 at his first public appearance as emperor in May.