Japanese Emperor Plans to Abdicate

Japanese Emperor Plans to AbdicateJapanese Emperor Plans to Abdicate

Japan's Emperor Akihito has announced his intention to abdicate in the coming years, public broadcaster NHK reports.

The 82-year-old, who has had health problems in recent years, reportedly does not wish to remain emperor if he has to reduce his official duties, BBC reported.

He has been head of state for 27 years and his abdication would be an unprecedented move in modern Japan. His eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, is next in line to succeed him to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

He plays a largely ceremonial role but is respected deeply by many Japanese and has been admired for distancing the monarchy from its association with the aggressive nationalism of World War Two.

Emperor Akihito would be the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in 200 years.