By Samuel Oyejola
Japan’s Emperor Akihito is expected to abdicate in 2019, paving way for a new imperial era led by his eldest son Naruhito.
This development is coming almost three years after the emperor suggested his age and health were affecting his ability to carry out his official duties.
The 83-year-old monarch will officially retire on 30 April 2019 in the first abdication by a Japanese emperor for 200 years. His eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will become the 126th occupant of the chrysanthemum throne the following day.
The development was the fallout of the Imperial House Council meeting held on Friday. The Imperial House Council comprises the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, parliamentarians, Supreme Court judges and members of the imperial family.
The date was agreed by the council to enable the aged monarch mark his 30th year on the throne.
Akihito has become an enormously popular figure since succeeding his father, Hirohito, Japan’s wartime emperor, in January 1989.
While the postwar constitution prohibits Japanese emperors from wielding political influence, Akihito has used his role to promote reconciliation with former victims of Japanese wartime aggression. On a visit to China in 1992, he said he “deeply deplored” an “unfortunate period in which my country inflicted great suffering on the people of China”.
In another development the Japanese Prime Minster, Shinzo Abe has reaffirm cooperation with South Korea on the recent missile provocation by North Korea
Shinzo Abe who spoke with his South Korean counterpart agreed to strengthen countermeasures against Pyongyang’s provocations.
The Japanese leader who is expected to visit China before the year runs out revealed that he would ask President Xi Jinping to play a stronger role in putting North Korea on pressure.