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King Sihamoni to attend Japanese emperor’s enthronement

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
Prime Minister Hun Sen sees off King Norodom Sihamoni yesterday. KT/Khem Sovannara

King Norodom Sihamoni will join thousands of other distinguished guests today in Tokyo as Japanese Emperor Naruhito formally proclaims his enthronement.

Emperor Naruhito succeeded his father Akihito on May 1 after the latter reigned for three decades, but a ceremony for his enthronement will only take place today.

King Sihamoni left the Kingdom yesterday morning. He was seen off by Prime Minister Hun Sen, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Senate President Say Chhum.

On Sunday, the King said he will be in Japan until Thursday and that Mr Chhum will serve as acting Head of State.

“During my absence, Senate President Say Chhum will act as acting Head of State of the Kingdom of Cambodia,” King Sihamoni said.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, King Sihamoni is one of 2,000 guests, including 400 heads of state, invited to attend a royal ceremony for Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement today.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, King Sihamoni was invited along with the United Kingdom’s Prince Charles, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

The relationship between Cambodian and Japanese royal families have remained close over the years.

In 2010, King Sihamoni met with then Emperor Akihito and then Empress Michiko during an official visit to Japan.

In April, King Sihamoni spent time in Tokyo to attend an International Buddhist Day celebration and an inauguration ceremony for the Nalanda Mahavihara World Buddhist University.

In May, then Japanese Ambassador Hidehisa Horinouchi noted that ties between the two royal families began in 1953 with the late King Norodom Sihanouk.

“Since then, both families have nurtured their friendship,” Mr Hidehisa said.

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