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President Kenyatta attends coronation of new Japanese Emperor

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President Uhuru Kenyatta was among the over 170 world leaders who witnessed the best of Japanese cultural heritage at the grand enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito on Tuesday, 22 October 2019.

The President and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta attended the historic ceremony held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo at the invitation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

Emperor Naruhito delivered his speech and proclaimed his enthronement from a raised canopied throne during the 30-minute ceremony.

The enthronement of the new emperor is the climax of a long and detailed succession process that started on 1 May 2019, when Emperor Naruhito took over the throne from his father and predecessor, Emperor Akihito, who relinquished the position he held for close to 30 years.

According to available records, Emperor Emeritus Akihito is the first monarch in Japan’s royal history to abdicate in more than 200 years, making today’s event a once-in-a-lifetime ceremony for many Japanese.

Ahead of the colourful coronation, Kenya’s Ambassador to Japan, Solomon Maina, said Kenyatta’s invitation to the ceremony was not only a show of high respect for the Kenyan leader but also a clear testament of the solid relationship between Kenya and Japan.

Kenya is the leading development partner of Japan in Africa and over the years, the Asian economic giant has supported Kenya’s development agenda with investments in renewable energy, infrastructure, water, health, education and technology transfer among other sectors.

Japan has been one of Kenya’s outstanding partners in the development of geothermal power resources especially the Olkaria complex in Naivasha, a project that has earned the country international recognition as an African leader in renewable energy development.

The ongoing expansion of Ngong Road in Nairobi, expansion works at the Port of Mombasa, construction of the Dongo Kundu Bypass, the planned Mombasa Gate Bridge over the Likoni channel and development of the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) are some of the key infrastructure projects being supported by Japan.

Other African leaders who witnessed the ceremony included Presidents Alassane Ouattara (Cote d’Ivoire), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger), Patrice Talon (Benin), Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé (Togo) and Jorge Carlos Fonseca (Cape Verde).