Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe announced the abdication of the ageing Emperor Akihito. On April 30th 2019, the 83 year old will officially step down, which will mark an end to an imperial Heisei era in Japan.
Akihito had explained in 2016 that his depleting health condition have made it difficult to fulfill his responsibilities as an Emperor. He was admitted earlier for a heart surgery and was later discovered with prostate cancer. He wanted to step down before his death. There was no abdication procedure under the current law. Due to failing illness and public concern, the government passed a law allowing him to step down.
The Imperial Household Council, which includes Mr. Abe, lawmakers and Japan’s royal family members in a meeting on Friday decided upon the date of the abdication. After which in a press conference Mr. Abe announced the news.
Crown Prince Naruhito, will now take up his father’s position on May 1st. This will be the first abdication after two centuries by a Japanese Monarch. Emperor Kokaku was the last one to be abdicated in 1817.