Japan officially declared Prince Akishino as crown prince on Sunday in the latest in a series of celebrations after his older brother Naruhito became emperor of the country last year after their father abdicated the throne.
These all-day celebrations were scheduled to take place at the palace in April, but were postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and were reduced as the infection continued to spread, although Japan escaped the outbreak of the disease in a large way, as seen in many other countries.
Under Japanese law, only males can inherit the throne, so Naruhito’s only descendants, Princess Aiko, 18 years old, are not eligible to inherit the throne. Efforts to amend the law lost momentum when Akishino’s wife gave birth to a son, Hisahito, in 2006.
“I am thinking deeply about the responsibility of the crown prince and I will perform my duties,” Japan Radio and Television Corporation quoted Akishino as saying to the audience, most of whom were wearing masks.
Akishino, 54, is one of only three heirs to the throne, along with Hisahito, 14, and Prince Hitachi, 84, the younger brother of Emperor Akihito, who stepped down last year in Japan’s first abdication in two centuries.