By Nick Baum
TUESDAY – 4/30/19
Japanese Emperor Akihito has formally announced his departure from the throne in a ceremony Tuesday. The 85-year-old’s official reign will end midnight of the day, and after that his son, 59-ear-old crown prince Naruhito, will be sworn in as the nation’s 126th emperor.
The emperor rarely spoke on television, but made an exception with the small ceremony at 5:00 PM (4:00 AM EST). Attendees at the ceremony included his wife, the Empress Michiko, and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. At the ceremony, Akihito detailed how he loved his role as emperor, but wishes the next reign as “a stable and fruitful one.”
Akihito cited health concerns as the reason for his abdication. Originally, an emperor wasn’t allowed to retire but a law passed in 2017 through the Japanese government changed that. Akihito is remembered as a very popular emperor, with many citizens agreeing that he’s hands-on and speaks to the people.
Sources and Pictures: CNN, Wikipedia, Financial Times