Japan’s Emperor Akihito hints at wish to abdicate
Japan’s Emperor Akihito has strongly indicated he wants to step down, saying he fears his age will make it difficult to fulfil his duties.The revered 82-year-old emperor’s comments came in only his second-ever televised address to the public.
Emperor Akihito did not explicitly say he wanted to abdicate as he is barred from making political statements.
PM Shinzo Abe said the government would take the remarks “seriously” and discuss what could be done.
“Upon reflecting how he handles his official duty and so on, his age and the current situation of how he works, I do respect the heavy responsibility the emperor must be feeling and I believe we need to think hard about what we can do,” he said.
Akihito, who has had heart surgery and was treated for prostate cancer, has been on the throne in Japan since the death of his father, Hirohito, in 1989.
In his 10-minute pre-recorded message, he said he had “started to reflect” on his years as as emperor, and contemplate his position in the years to come.