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Japan's Reiwa era

Japanese emperor's enthronement parade to be postponed to Nov. 10

Prime minister cites typhoon damage and consideration for disaster victims

A fleet of vehicles leaves the Imperial Palace in an enthronement parade rehearsal on Oct. 6. (Photo by Kai Fujii)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government is planning to postpone Tuesday's scheduled enthronement parade in Tokyo for Emperor Naruhito to Nov. 10 in consideration of the hardships people are suffering in the wake of last weekend's powerful typhoon, a government source said.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while in the town of Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, hit hard by the disaster, said, "We're planning to postpone it in view of the damage" caused by Typhoon Hagibis.

Oct. 26 had been earlier set as an alternative date for the parade in the event of inclement weather but circumstances have apparently required it to be rescheduled later.

The enthronement ceremony and a banquet are expected to be held Tuesday as planned, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Dignitaries from over 190 countries and international organizations will attend the rite for Emperor Naruhito, who ascended the throne on May 1 following the abdication of his father former Emperor Akihito the previous day.

The powerful typhoon left 77 people dead and more than a dozen people missing after it lashed Tokyo and other areas in central, eastern and northeastern regions Saturday and Sunday.

More than 1,700 houses were fully or partially destroyed, while over 33,000 houses were flooded. "The damage from the typhoon was significant and there are people who are still evacuated," a government source said.

In the typhoon-hit Fukushima Prefecture, Mikiko Sugawara, 71, who was cleaning her flooded house in Koriyama, said, "(The postponement) is disappointing, but I feel (the imperial couple) think about people and are considerate."

The emperor and empress have released a statement to express sympathy to the disaster victims. "I want the parade to be held after things settle down," Sugawara said.

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

The agency's Vice Grand Steward Yasuhiko Nishimura told a press conference Tuesday that it is up to the government to decide whether to hold the parade, which will be held as a state occasion.

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