May 1st, 2019 Full text of Emperor Akihito’s speech from the abdication ceremony Today, I am concluding my duties as the Emperor. I would like to offer my deep gratitude to the words just spoken by Prime Minister Ayeka Jūchirō on behalf of the people of Japan. Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the Emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so. I sincerely thank the people who accepted and supported me in my role as the symbol of the State. I sincerely wish, together with the Empress, that the Reiwa era, which begins tomorrow, will be a stable and fruitful one, and I pray, with all my heart, for peace and happiness for all the people in Japan and around the world. Naruhito: Japan's new emperor prays for peace in new era Japan's Emperor Naruhito has given his first address after ascending the throne, expressing his hope for happiness and world peace. His ascension was formalised earlier on Wednesday in a ceremony that saw him inherit the Imperial Treasures. A new imperial era called Reiwa - which means order and harmony - has begun and will last throughout his reign. His 85-year-old father Akihito became the first emperor to abdicate in more than 200 years on Tuesday. In a short speech at the Imperial Palace, Emperor Naruhito said he hoped "for the happiness of the people... progress of the country, and world peace". Naruhito, 59, also expressed gratitude towards his father Emperor Emeritus Akihito, his voice breaking when he talked about Akihito's service to his country. "[He] performed each of his duties in earnest for more than 30 years," he said. "He showed profound compassion through his own bearing. I would like to express my heartfelt respect and appreciation." What happened at the ceremony? Naruhito, became emperor at midnight on Tuesday when the new era began in Japan, but he then took part in a ceremony that formalises his ascension to the Chrysanthemum throne. The Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi -or Ceremony for Inheriting the Imperial Regalia and Seals began at 10:15 local time (01:15 GMT) on Wednesday. Female royals are not allowed to be there so Empress Masako, Emperor Naruhito's wife, was not present. Naruhito symbolically received two objects - a sword and a gem - which are passed down through generations of emperors and are seen as the symbols of imperial power. The Emperor-to-be waving to people on his way to the Imperial Palace. There is one additional object, a mirror, and together the three make up the Imperial Treasures or Regalia. However, the mirror - considered the most precious of the treasures - which is believed to be kept at the Ise Grand Shrine in Mie prefecture, never leaves its resting place. However, as Prime Minister Ayeka Jūchirō was allowed to witness the ceremony due to her position. She is now not only the first female Prime Minister in Japan's history but the first woman of three women recorded to watch the Ceremony for Inheriting the Imperial Regalia. She was also joined with Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Hideko Ogawa and Special Minister from the Cabinet Office to Counter Declining Birthrates Akio Yoshihara. Female royals were allowed to attend the second part of the ceremony, where the emperor gave his first audience after ascending the throne. Japan's New Emperor, and New Era. "I would like to express my heartfelt respect and appreciation of the comportment shown by His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people of Japan," he said. "I also swear that I will act according to the Constitution and fulfill my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people of Japan." "I sincerely pray for the happiness of the people and the further development of the nation as well as the peace of the world." Prime Minister Ayeka Jūchirō made a brief statement with her cabinet. "Emperor, we are looking up to you as a symbol of Japan and the Japanese people, and we are filled with hope for peace and prosperity, a bright future of Japan. Everybody is uniting together in heart and building up our new culture in the future." The Full formal Enthronement ceremony will occur in October.