Japan’s Emperor Akihito to abdicate on April 30, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Emperor Akihito, who has spent much of his nearly three decades on Japan’s throne seeking to soothe the wounds of World War Two, will step down on April 30, 2019 – the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in about two centuries.

A 10-member Imperial Household Council chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and including lawmakers, royals and supreme court justices agreed on the timing in a meeting on Friday.

The government was required by law to hear the council’s views before formally deciding the date, most likely next week.

The octogenarian Akihito will be succeeded by his heir, 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito.

“This is the first abdication by an emperor in 200 years and the first under the (post-war) constitution,” Abe told reporters after announcing the panel’s recommendation.

“I feel deep emotion that today, the opinion of the Imperial Household Council was smoothly decided and a big step was taken toward the imperial succession.”

Once considered divine, Japan’s emperor is defined in the post-war constitution as a “symbol of the state and of the unity of the people”, but has no political power.

Akihito, along with Empress Michiko, has spent much of his time on the throne trying to address the legacy of World War Two, which was fought in his father Hirohito’s name, and consoling

Article source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-emperor/japans-emperor-akihito-to-abdicate-on-april-30-2019-idUSKBN1DV3AS?il=0

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