Japan emperor to cede all public duties after abdication TOKYO: Emperor Akihito will hand over all public duties to his heir after retiring in what will be Japan's first abdication in almost two centuries, the monarch's younger son said, responding to worries a former emperor might weaken his successor's status.
Akihito, who will be 85, said his age was a concern. A law enacted in June allows Akihito, who turns 84 on Dec 23, to step down, but details have yet to be worked out.
Akihito will be succeeded by his heir, 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito.
The government was required by law to hear the council's views before formally deciding the date, most likely next week.
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. The emperor's abdication will close the current Heisei era, as an era name in modern Japan is based on an emperor's reign.
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But the proposal met opposition from the Imperial Household Agency as ceremonies to mark the imperial succession would coincide with important year-end and New Year imperial events.
To avoid the busy political schedule, the idea of setting the emperor's abdication on April 30, 2019, with the succession to follow the next day has become the preferred option, the sources said.
Emperor Akihito is presently undergoing a prostrate cancer treatment.
Akihito and Empress Michiko, the first commoner to Wednesday a Japanese monarch, have spent much time trying to address the legacy of World War Two, which was fought in the name of his father Hirohito, and consoling victims of disasters or other woes.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced the date of the abdication of country's Emperor Akihito after the decision by the Imperial House Council.