Chrysanthemum’s new heir

Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito, the eldest son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, is the heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Naruhito, born on February 23, 1960, became heir to the throne in January 1989 following the death of his grandfather emperor Hirohito.He officially became Crown Prince in a ceremony in February 1991.
Naruhito graduated from Gakushuin University in Tokyo in 1982 and a year later he entered Merton College at the University of Oxford, studying there for a further three years.
He also completed the first part of a doctorate in humanities at Gakushuin University’s graduate school some years later.
In 1993, Naruhito made headlines around the world when the palace announced his long-awaited engagement to Masako Owada, a career diplomat who graduated from Harvard University, majoring in economics.
The wedding ceremony was held in June the same year.The couple has a 15-year-old daughter Aiko, who was born in 2001, eight years after their marriage.
Naruhito has been a long-standing advocate of water protection issues, delivering various speeches at conferences around the world. Akihito is also a keen environmentalist and has conducted research on fish and is a member of the Ichthyological Society of Japan. His research papers have been published in scientific journals.
The 83-year-old emperor has had health issues, undergoing surgery for prostate cancer in 2003 and suffering stress-related health problems in 2008. He underwent heart bypass surgery in 2012.
In August, the emperor indicated his apparent desire to abdicate in a rare video message. He said he was concerned that his declining health would make it more difficult for him to carry out his duties.
To help foster bilateral relations, Naruhito has also travelled to many countries, including a trip to Malaysia in April on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and the South-East Asian country.
While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s controversial views on wartime history over the years have strained relations with other Asian countries, the crown prince told a news conference in 2015, “It is important to look back in a humble way on the past and correctly pass on the tragic experiences of war and knowledge on the course of history.”
Out of the public eye, the crown prince also enjoys jogging and playing tennis while he is also an accomplished violinist, according to the Imperial Household Agency.  — dpa