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Japan's emperor-to-be celebrates wedding anniversary

AFP  |  Tokyo 

Japan's prince marked his silver anniversary today by pledging to uphold the country's royal traditions when he succeeds his father next year.

Naruhito will ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne next May following the planned abdication of Akihito, who will step down after three decades at the helm of the world's oldest imperial family.

The 58-year-old heir to the throne, who has vowed to "dedicate heart and soul" to duties of emperor, used the anniversary of his to Princess Masako to reaffirm his commitment to his future role as

"It is important to steadily play the role of as the symbol (of the state)," Naruhito said in a statement, adding he would continue to observe the traditions of the office.

"As I search for ways to be the symbol, I think it is also important to take action reflecting a change of society," he said.

Naruhito married Masako Owada, the daughter of a diplomatic family, in 1993. In 2001 she gave birth to their only child, a girl.

Masako, 54, said she would continue "praying for people's happiness" to mark the anniversary.

said the will hold an official reception Saturday at Togu Palace, their official residence.

The status of the is sensitive in -- a legacy of the massive Pacific war waged in the name of Akihito's father Hirohito, who died in 1989.

has keenly embraced the more modern role as a symbol of the state which was imposed on the royal family after World War II ended. Previous emperors including had been treated as semi-divine.

But the reigning emperor shocked the country in 2016 when he signalled his desire to end his public duties, citing his age and health problems.

will be the first emperor to retire in more than two centuries in a royal family that traces its lineage back more than 2,600 years.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, June 09 2018. 16:40 IST