TOKYO – Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito expressed his readiness to take on the role as the emperor and said that wants to continue the teachings and path shown by his parents, during a press conference on Saturday held to mark his 59th birthday.
He said that during his years as the Crown Prince, he had tried to have numerous opportunities to be close to the people to know their situation and worries to see what could be done by the royal family to help resolve them and added that he wants to build a “pillar” of his activities through it.
Naruhito said that ever since his father, Emperor Akihito, expressed his desire to abdicate the throne in August 2016, he had had a chance to reflect on the responsibilities that he would need to take up as the emperor and commended the decision that the Emperor took keeping in mind the good of the people.
He said that he feels deep gratitude and respect for his parents and thanked them for their support and allowing him to learn with them during their 30-year reign.
During an appearance two days before his birthday, he said that he would keep the Emperor’s work in his heart and will always think about his people and pray for them, while he continues to prepare for his role.
On being asked about his wife, Crown Princess Masako – who is in frail health – and the responsibilities that she would need to assume as empress, Naruhito praised her efforts in contributing more towards her role.
He added that Masako had worked hard to carry out her responsibilities on a public as well as a personal level, while she is gradually recovering.
He thanked the people for their warm welcome and their support for his wife, and said that they were positive factors and hoped that she would take on more roles gradually.
Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, will succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, 2019, one day after Akihito’s abdication.
The enthronement ceremony will be held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo in front of thousands of guests and delegations from around the world on Oct. 22.