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Japan’s emperor to run 2020 Paralympics

By Clare Baldwin, CNN • Updated 11th July 2010

Naruhito II, the first emperor of modern Japan, has been given the honor of officially opening the 2020 Paralympics, according to officials.

Naruhito’s father, Hirohito, led the country during World War II, and also saw the Asian country through one of its darkest periods.

“The emperor’s father led this country through the most desperate time of our history. This emperor will honorfully lead the athletes and people of Japan at the first Paralympics here,” Nishi Takagi, the chairman of the Japan Olympics and Paralympics Committee, told reporters in Tokyo.

Tokyo is hosting the Olympics in 2020, and the Paralympics are in town in the years after the Games. Naruhito II is officially a spokesman for the 2016 games and Naruhito II is set to open the 2020 Paralympics

“That role was a honor for me, and this will be an honor for me to be the national master in the opening ceremony,” Naruhito II told reporters.

The ceremony is expected to be held at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.

To be an official Olympic and Paralympic opening, the ceremony needs to be run by a sovereign, the International Paralympic Committee said.

“The highlight of the games is the opening ceremony, and the national heritage of the emperor is therefore an appropriate place to start the Paralympic Games,” says the IPC in a statement.

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