Japan celebrates Emperor Naruhito's 63rd birthday

STORY: “I wish everyone a peaceful spring. I am praying for everyone's health and happiness," Naruhito said, standing on a palace balcony to accept cheers and well-wishes from thousands of citizens assembled on the grounds below.

Naruhito was joined by his wife, Empress Masako, his daughter Aiko, 21, and his brother Crown Prince Akishino, along with Akishino's wife and daughter, all wearing white masks.

Naruhito, who turned 63, was crowned emperor on May 1, 2019, after his father Akihito became the first emperor to abdicate in two centuries.

Among the citizens there to celebrate with Naruhito was retiree Keiko Koyanagi, who told Reuters she was so thrilled at seeing the Emperor up close for the first time that she almost burst into tears.