07/14/2016, 10.04
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Emperor wants to abdicate but "has no health problems"

The Chrysanthemum Throne is the oldest monastic dynasty in the world. The current ruler, 82, reportedly wants to abdicate. Experts point out this will mean a change in the law of imperial succession. Akihito is the first Japanese monarch without "divine prerogatives", renounced by his father Hirohito after the surrender of Japan in 1945.


Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The Japanese Emperor Akihito plans to abdicate "in a few years" and leave the throne to his son Naruhito. Japanese television reports that the sovereign's decision was made "a long time ago". Apparently there are no hidden health problems, but only the desire to pass on the charge given the the impressive amount of commitments it involves.

It is the first time in two centuries for a monarch of the Land of the Rising Sun to step down. However most of the 124 emperors who have occupied the Chrysanthemum Throne has left office while still alive. The current ruler is 82 years old and has reigned for 27 years. Abdications are not foreseen by the law of the Imperial Household which, because of this, will soon be revised.

Abdication was abolished in the Meiji period, between 1868 and 1912, the role of the Emperor once again took on major importance after centuries of control exercised by the Shogun. Akihito ascended the throne on January 7, 1989, upon the death of his father Hirohito, and was the first ruler to ascend to the imperial throne after the Second World War without enjoying "divine" powers, following his father's renunciation of it in the famous 'Declaration of the emperor's human nature'. This was "stressed" by the defeat of Japan in World War II.

Under the proclamation the pacifist constitution was promulgated and adopted in 1947, which ruled that the emperor is "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the Japanese people." After the war, Akihito visited Europe and the United States, and in 1953 took part in the coronation of the Queen Elizabeth II of England, representing his father. In 1959 he was the first Crown Prince to marry a commoner, Michiko Shoda, and in 1992 became the first Japanese emperor to visit China.

The first in line of succession to the throne is the eldest son, 56 year old Crown Prince Naruhito, married to Princess Masako. According to tradition Akihito is the 125th emperor in a hereditary line which began with the first monarch Jinmu, in 660 BC The chronicles tell of how the succession to the throne originated around the fifth century, making Japan's the oldest hereditary monarchies in the world.

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