Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese parliament has passed ground-breaking legislation that allows the country’s emperor to step down, in what would be the first imperial abdication in more than two centuries.

Local media reports Emperor Akihito, 83, will be succeeded by his eldest son, 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito. Tokyo is reportedly considering December 2018 when the emperor turns 85 as a possible time for the abdication, according to inside sorces.

Emperor Akihito was born 23 December 1933 is the reigning Emperor of Japan. He is the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan’s traditional order of succession. Akihito succeeded his father Emperor Shōwa and acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on 7 January 1989.

Akhito, was the first emperor not to be considered divine, and sought to bring the imperial family closer to the people of Japan. He is the son of Japan’s wartime emperor Hirohito.

Emperor Akhito has had heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer. Akhito previously hinted at the possibility of abdication in a televised address last year. Akihito said he “worried that it may become more difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state.” he said.There has been ongoing coverage of his possible abdication due to age and health issues; 31 December 2018 and 1 January 2019 have been mentioned as possible dates of abdication

The last Japanese emperor to relinquish the Chrysanthemum Throne was Emperor Kokaku in 1817. Although abdications were historically not uncommon, the previous imperial house law set in 1889 required monarchs to reign until they died to avoid conflicts between reigning and retired emperors.

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