Japanese emperor Akihito says he will abdicate in 2019

02 December, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Akihito was the 125th person to sit on the Chrysanthemum Throne since Emperor Jimmu

Akihito, who will be 85, said his age was a concern.

Emperor Akihito, who has spent much of his almost three decades on Japan's throne seeking to soothe the wounds of WWII, will step down on April 30, 2019 - the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in about two centuries.

Akihito has two sons - Crown Prince Naruhito and Akishino - who are first and second in line to become Japan's emperor under male-only succession system.

The decision was made Friday at a meeting of the Imperial House Council, which was chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and included parliamentary leaders, supreme court judges and imperial family members.

Japan's constitution defines the emperor as a symbol of the state and the people, without political power. A law enacted in June allows Akihito, who turns 84 on Dec 23, to step down, but details have yet to be worked out.

Past year the Emperor declared that it was hard to perform their duties due to old age, and he wished to pass the throne to the heir.

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The government initially leaned toward setting the date of the emperor's abdication in December 2018 and starting the new "gengo" (era name) used in the Japanese calendar at the start of 2019, according to the government sources.

After fixing the date, the government is expected to set up an organization headed by Suga to prepare for ceremonies to mark the imperial succession.

Japanese Emperor Akihito ascended to the throne after the death in 1989 of his father Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa.

The law, designed specially for the current emperor, would allow Emperor Akihito to be the first Japanese emperor that relinquishes the throne in around 200 years.

Emperor Akihito is presently undergoing a prostrate cancer treatment.

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