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Japan's Reiwa era

Japan to introduce new emperor to the world in October

Enthronement ceremony expected to draw guests from nearly 200 countries

About 2,500 people will be invited to Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony.

TOKYO -- Japan's new emperor will announce his ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne before dignitaries from 195 foreign countries in October, according to the outline of the enthronement ritual approved by the government Thursday.

Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne May 1 in a handover ceremony for the "Three Sacred Treasures," marking the start of the Reiwa era. At the Oct. 22 event, the emperor will proclaim his ascension from a canopied throne on an occasion designed to introduce him to the world.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will then deliver a congratulatory message, followed by three "banzai" cheers.

After the ritual, the emperor and Empress Masako will ride a convertible luxury sedan in a 30-minute parade from the Imperial Palace to their residence. Foreign guests invited to the ceremony will attend a banquet that night, plus another one hosted by Abe and his wife the following evening.

The government expects about 2,500 guests in total, roughly as many as the previous ceremony for Emperor Akihito in 1990. Invitations have been extended to representatives of the 195 countries with which Japan has diplomatic relations, as well as those of the European Union and the United Nations. Foreign guests are expected to number 600, about 100 more than for the previous ceremony, since Japan has diplomatic ties with 30 more countries now.

Foreign guests to Emperor Akihito's proclamation included German President Richard Von Weizsacker, Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Britain, U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Xueqian.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, at an Imperial banquet while they were on a state visit in May. They are also expected to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, who will visit Japan for the Group of 20 summit in Osaka near the end of the month.

The planned ceremony follows the precedent of the previous one, the first held under the postwar constitution.

"The ritual is not considered a religious ceremony and thus does not violate the principle of separation of church and state" guaranteed under the constitution, Cabinet Legislation Bureau chief Yusuke Yokobatake said.

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