Thousands gather to celebrate Japan's Naruhito enthronement

Japan emperor greets at celebration hosted by conservatives

Tens of thousands of flag-waving spectators cheered Japan's new Emperor Naruhito on Sunday during a rare open-top auto imperial parade that was rescheduled after a deadly typhoon.

Authorities deployed around 26,000 officers and established extensive security measures, including around 40 checkpoints along the route, blockades on nearby roads and restrictions on using metro stations in the area. Selfie sticks, bottles and banners - and even shouting - are not allowed inside the restricted zone.

The event was one of the final events marking Naruhito's ascension to the throne after his father Akihito earlier this year became the first Japanese emperor in two centuries to abdicate.

The auto was decorated with the Chrysanthemum emblems and the emperor's flag during the half-hour motorcade on the 4.6-kilometer (3-mile) route from the palace to the Akasaka imperial residence in the soft afternoon sun.

The parade was originally due to take place on October 22, when the emperor officially proclaimed his enthronement before dignitaries from about 190 countries, but it was postponed as Japan grappled with the aftermath of a devastating typhoon.

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Japanese Emperor Naruhito has thanked tens of countless numbers of effectively-wishers who collected outdoors the palace to congratulate his enthronement at a ceremony arranged by conservative political and small business groups.

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The parade wraps up Naruhito's official succession events, though he'll perform a highly religious imperial rite later this week.

People had already gathered around the Imperial Palace in the morning so they can get a good look at the Imperial couple.

"The sky is so blue and this is a great day for taking photos, as if it's the heaven's blessing for (the emperor)", said Suzuki, an amateur photographer.

"Emotion welled up and I was so happy that I was about to cry", she said. In the previous such ceremony, Rolls-Royce Corniche III was used.

Naruhito and Masako have been warmly welcomed by the public.

Naruhito's enthronement began with the presentation of the imperial treasures in May, followed by the new emperor's first news conference. Masako, a former diplomat, has struggled for more than a decade and had largely withdrawn from public appearances until recently.

"I'm looking forward to see the dress Empress Masako will wear", Hiroko Kikuta, in her 60s, told AFP.

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