Japanese Emperor Naruhito pledges to fulfil duty at enthronement ceremony

TOKYO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Japanese Emperor Naruhito pledged to fulfil his duty as a symbol of the state as he officially announced his enthronement on Tuesday in a centuries-old ceremony attended by heads of state and other dignitaries from more than 180 countries.

Naruhito, 59, acceded to the throne in May after his father, Akihito, became the first monarch to abdicate in two centuries.

"I swear that I will act according to the constitution and fulfil my responsibility as the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people," he declared in front of about 2,000 participants, including Britain's Prince Charles.

"I sincerely hope that Japan will develop further and contribute to the friendship and peace of the international community, and to the welfare and prosperity of human beings through the people's wisdom and ceaseless efforts."

Naruhito's grandfather, Hirohito, in whose name Japanese troops fought World War Two, was treated as a god but renounced his divine status after Japan's defeat in 1945. Emperors now have no political authority. (reporting by Linda Sieg and Kiyoshi Takenaka )