TOKYO • Japan's crown prince marked his silver wedding anniversary yesterday by pledging to uphold the country's royal traditions when he succeeds his father next year.
Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne next May following the planned abdication of Emperor 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 the duties of the emperor, used the anniversary of his wedding to Crown Princess Masako, 54, to reaffirm his commitment to his future role as ceremonial head of state.
"It is important to steadily play the role of emperor as the symbol (of the state)," Crown Prince Naruhito said in a statement, adding that 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.
Crown Prince Naruhito married Ms Masako Owada, the daughter of a diplomatic family, in 1993. In 2001, she gave birth to their only child, a girl. Crown Princess Masako said she would continue "praying for people's happiness" to mark the wedding anniversary.