Em­peror Ak­i­hito ‘wishes to ab­di­cate’

Daily Trust - - AROUND THE WORLD -

Ja­pan’s Em­peror Ak­i­hito has ex­pressed his de­sire to ab­di­cate in the next few years, pub­lic broad­caster NHK re­ports.

The 82-year-old, who has had health prob­lems in re­cent years, re­port­edly does not wish to re­main em­peror if he has to re­duce his of­fi­cial du­ties.

But a palace spokesman de­nied that there is any of­fi­cial plan for the monarch to ab­di­cate in what would be an un­prece­dented move in mod­ern Ja­pan.

Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, is next in line to the Chrysan­the­mum Throne.

An un­named gov­ern­ment source told Ja­pan’s Ky­odo news agency that the em­peror, who plays a largely cer­e­mo­nial role but is re­spected deeply by many Ja­pa­nese, has been con­tem­plat­ing the move for about a year.

His family had ac­cepted his de­ci­sion, an un­named palace source told NHK.

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