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02 December 2017, 01:08 | Myrtle Vega
Emperor Akihito will become first Japanese monarch to abdicate in 200 years
Akihito is the first Japanese Emperor in 200 years to abdicate. His Cabinet is expected to formally approve on or around December 8 a government ordinance setting the timing of the succession, which will take place when the emperor will be 85, the source said.
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.
Japan's Emperor Akihito is set to step down in April 2017, having announced previous year that age and failing health might make it hard for him to fulfil his duties.
Japan's parliament enacted in June a law to allow Emperor Akihito to step down and pass his duties over to Crown Prince Naruhito.
Some experts, recalling past examples when ex-emperors kept their influence, had feared the former monarch's existence would undercut the symbolic status of his heir, Crown Prince Naruhito. The emperor's abdication will close the current Heisei era, as an era name in modern Japan is based on an emperor's reign. The date of the said renunciation in the Council of the Imperial house, writes "Voice of America". "I hope the emperor will spend relaxing time as much as possible after the abdication", he said. In this regard, the Japanese Parliament passed a law allowing the Emperor to abdicate and to retire.
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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.
A one-off bill was passed for his abdication this year after the Emperor told the nation that he was finding it hard to carry out his duties, owing to his age and waning reflexes.
Emperor Akihito is presently undergoing a prostrate cancer treatment.
The 83-year-old monarch took over the throne following his father Emperor Hirohito's death.
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