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Japan's Naruhito to proclaim himself emperor at palace rite

Japan's Emperor Naruhito is visiting three Shinto shrines at the Imperial Palace before proclaiming himself Japan's emperor in an enthronement ceremony.

The 59-year-old emperor put on a white robe and prayed at "Kashikodokoro" and two other shrines. The visits Tuesday morning are to report to gods ahead of the ceremony, to be attended by 2,000 guests from in and outside Japan.

The enthronement ceremony the high point of succession rituals that began in May when Naruhito succeeded the Chrysanthemum Throne as Japan's 126th emperor after the abdication of his father, Akihito.

The proclamation is largely meant to allow the government to showcase the monarchy to win public support and to preserve Japan's cultural heritage.

Naruhito and his wife Masako, a Harvard-educated former diplomat, will host a banquet later Tuesday.