After six months in Japan will be the new Emperor

After six months in Japan will be the new Emperor

After six months in Japan will be the new Emperor

Akihito, who turns 84 on December 23 and has had heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer, said in rare remarks a year ago that he feared age might make it hard to fulfil his duties.

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.

Japan's octogenarian Emperor Akihito will cede the throne on April 30, 2019, with Crown Prince Naruhito succeeding him the following day, the prime minister said Friday. The 10-member Imperial Household Council includes lawmakers, royals and supreme court justices and the government was required by law to hear its views before formally deciding the date.

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.

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

A special panel will discuss possible dates on Friday, with the cabinet to make a final decision. The Japanese Parliament in June 2017 allowed the Emperor to abdicate.

Japanese Emperor Akihito ascended to the throne after the death in 1989 of his father Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa. Naruhito's daughter, Princess Aiko, who turns 16 on Friday, can not inherit the males-only throne.

Time and details of the abdication of what is happening for the first time in more than two centuries, became the object of fierce debate in Japan.

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