New Japanese emperor Naruhito, took up his post on Wednesday, a day after his father gave up the throne in the country's first abdication in two centuries.
Former Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko stepped down on Tuesday after three decades as the nation's top royals in a brief, simple ceremony, with Akihito thanking the people of Japan and saying he prayed for peace.
Pope Francis has sent a congratulatory telegram to Emperor Naruhito, assuring the 59-year old Japanese head of state his prayers and divine blessing on the imperial family and the nation.
Please find below the text of the telegram:
His Imperial Majesty
Emperor of Japan
I extend to Your Majesty my cordial greetings and best wishes on the occasion of your solemn accession to the throne, and I assure you of my prayers that you may be endowed always with the gifts of wisdom and strength in your dedicated service to the nation. Upon you, the Members of the Imperial Family and all the people of Japan, I invoke the divine blessings of peace and well-being.