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Japanese emperor Akihito hints at abdication

Japanese emperor Akihito hints at abdication


Japanese Emperor Akihito wanted to announce his abdication plans in December 2015, coinciding with his 82nd birthday, sources from the Imperial Household Agency said on Tuesday.

However, the announcement was delayed owing to a lack of necessary preparations, reported the Kyodo news agency.

The Emperor finally addressed the nation on Monday in a rare televised message where he hinted at his abdication, citing failing health and old age, which he says, makes it difficult for him to carry out his responsibilities effectively.

Health complications over the last few years forced Akihito to delegate some of his responsibilities to his eldest son and Crown Prince, the 56-year-old Naruhito.

However, during his ten-minute address to the nation on Monday, the monarch avoided any direct reference to his abdication plans or when it is likely to take place as it could be considered a breach of the Japanese Constitution.

The Imperial Household Agency, together with the Japanese cabinet, is expected to work on the emperor’s resignation, which will require legislative changes, Efe news reported.

Current regulation governing the Imperial household has no provisions for a living succession and will require an amendment or a special legislation to facilitate the abdication.

During the press conference held on the occasion of his 82nd birthday on December 23, 2015, Akihito had acknowledged feeling his age more than ever.

Emperor Akihito underwent a coronary bypass surgery in 2012 and in 2003 was operated upon for prostate cancer.

The hormone therapy that was prescribed to him later led to osteoporosis and in 2008 he suffered a stomach hemorrhage.