Japan Emperor Akihito Abdicates from the Throne

The reign of Emperor Akihito ends on Tuesday with the abdication of the sovereign, who gives in his lifetime the throne of Chrysanthemum to his eldest son. Akihito will put an end to more than 30 years past as “symbol of the people and the unity of the nation”.

The crown prince Naruhito will succeed him when Japan will switch on May 1 at midnight in year 1 of the new imperial era “Reiwa” (“beautiful harmony”), after three decades of Heisei era (“completion of peace”) . The first speech to the people of the new emperor, Wednesday, after the enthronement, is eagerly awaited.

While the imperial successions were made for 200 years at the death of the ruler in office for the benefit of his heir, the passage from Akihito to Naruhito stems from a special written law.

The Emperor had subtly expressed in mid-2016 his wish to be relieved of his task, he could not “exercise body and soul” because of his age (85 years today) and a health on the decline.

The date of the abdication, as well as all the provisions surrounding this event, were decided by the government, the imperial family having no say.

The Japanese population is thus preparing for historical festivities and almost unpublished since, this time, the nation is not bereaved as was the case in 1989 (death of Hirohito, also called Emperor Showa), 1926 (death of the Emperor Taisho) or 1912 (death of Emperor Meiji).

The main ultra-protocol and very brief ceremonies of this Tuesday and Wednesday, which will take place in the most beautiful hall of the Imperial Palace, will be broadcast on the NHK public channel with rare solemnity. Public gatherings are also expected around the Imperial Palace.

Special security measures will be in force as last week, the grandson of the emperor, Prince Hisahito, was the object of an act considered a threat: two knives were found on his class table in his college.

Countdowns are planned in places as diverse as nightclubs, forecourts of railway stations, observatories or Shinto sanctuaries, quasi religion which partly governs the imperial rites.

However, all the events related to this change are spread over months, with another peak in the autumn when foreign heads of state and many personalities will be welcomed.

Akihito and his wife Michiko have spent the past few weeks their last pilgrimages across the country that they have traveled for three decades, including to comfort the victims after the many natural disasters of their era reign. The imperial couple is very respected, which is very much due to the relative proximity it has created with the citizens.

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Palace Revolution in Japan, where Emperor Akihito Abdicates from the Throne - /10


Akihito will put an end to more than 30 years past as "symbol of the people and unity of the nation". This abdication is a first in two centuries of Japanese history.

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