Japan’s Emperor Akihito publicly indicates wish to abdicate

In an extraordinary televised address on Monday, the popular Emperor Akihito of Japan, 82, spoke publicly for the first time about his age, his rigorous daily schedule and what he called his increasing physical limitations:

“I am concerned that it will become more and more difficult for me to fulfill my duties as a symbolic emperor,” he said. For Akihito to retire and hand the 2,700-year old title to his son Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, parliament would have to change the Imperial Household law under which an emperor must reign until his death.

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