At 82, Em­peror Ak­i­hito of Ja­pan Wants to Re­tire

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The Ja­panese have ac­knowl­edged that their em­peror is not a god and he has been stripped of all po­lit­i­cal power, but the na­tion still views its monarch as so cen­tral to the sense of iden­tity that he is not per­mit­ted to re­sign. Now, Em­peror Ak­i­hito is sug­gest­ing that his peo­ple let him re­tire. He is 82 years old. He has had can­cer. He has had surgery. So, in a uniquely Ja­panese mo­ment on Mon­day, he went on tele­vi­sion to hint at his de­sire for Par­lia­ment to change the law so he can give the job to his son.

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