Japan's emperor to abdicate on April 30, 2019: gov't source


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.

Japan's parliament enacted in June a law to allow the emperor to pass the Chrysanthemum throne on to his 57-year-old elder son.

Akihito, 84 this month, is due to abdicate on April 30 2019 with his heir, Crown Prince Naruhito, becoming emperor the next day.

The decision was made Friday at a meeting of the Imperial House Council, which was chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and included parliamentary leaders, supreme court judges and imperial family members.

Emperor Akihito is presently undergoing a prostrate cancer treatment.

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The cabinet will likely formally decide the date next Friday, media reported.

Past year the Emperor declared that it was hard to perform their duties due to old age, and he wished to pass the throne to the heir. It was needed because the 1947 Imperial House Law does not provide for abdication.

As the 52-year-old prince is expected to become "koshi", or first in line to the throne, following the emperor's abdication, the council gathering could directly touch on his status.

According to the Japanese Constitution, the emperor has a merely ceremonial role, being a symbol of the nation and of national unity.

Akihito was 56-years-old when he ascended the throne following the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito. That is because he has only a daughter, Princess Aiko, who turned 16 on Friday, and under current rules she will be prohibited from inheriting the males only throne.