Emperor Akihito ‘wishes to abdicate’
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.