Japanese Emperor Akihito declares historic abdication

Japanese Emperor Akihito declares historic abdication
# 30 April 2019 12:47 (UTC +04:00)

Japan's Emperor Akihito has declared his abdication and delivered his last public address as emperor, in a historic ceremony in Tokyo, ONA reports citing BBC.

He is the first Japanese monarch to stand down in more than 200 years.

The 85-year-old was given permission to abdicate after saying he felt unable to fulfil his role because of his age and declining health.

Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne on Wednesday, beginning a new era.

The emperor in Japan holds no political power but serves as a national symbol.

In his final speech, Akihhito said he "wished Japan and the world peace and prosperity".

"I am deeply grateful for the people that accepted me as a symbol and supported me," he said.

"Along with the empress consort, I hope from my heart the Reiwa era will be peaceful and fruitful, and I hereby pray for the well-being and happiness of our country and people of the world."

Emperor Akihito's reign has been marked by his interactions with people suffering from disease and disaster, which have endeared him to many Japanese people.