Japan's emperor is first to abdicate throne in two centuries

Japan's emperor is first to abdicate throne in two centuries
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Japan's Emperor Akihito on Tuesday abdicated his throne to allow for the succession of his son, ending three decades of reign in the largely symbolic role.

Bloomberg News reported that Akihito told Japan's citizens of his "deep trust and love" for them alongside his wife, Empress Michiko, the first commoner to marry into the Japanese royal family.


“It was a happy thing for me to be able to fulfill the responsibilities of the emperor with deep trust and love for citizens,” Akihito, 85, said Tuesday at an official ceremony according to Bloomberg. “I appreciate with all my heart that citizens accepted and supported me as a symbol.”


Akihito, who held the role for 31 years, began his reign as emperor in 1989 following the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, known after his death as Emperor Showa. Akihito is the first Japanese emperor to voluntarily abdicate the throne in more than two centuries, the last time occurring in 1817.

"The emperor will be abdicated today as long as it is reserved. I think about the history of the Emperor and empress who have been always [close to] the people for three decades of Heisei, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for this opportunity," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wrote on Twitter, according to a translation.


The White House announced last week that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE would visit Japan and meet its new emperor, formerly Crown Prince Naruhito, in May. Abe and his wife visited Washington last week.

"The state visit will deepen the close bonds between the American and Japanese people and will highlight the continued importance of our alliance and partnership," press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah SandersSarah Sanders on Trump's reported war dead criticism: 'Those comments didn't happen' Sarah Sanders memoir reportedly says Trump joked she should hook up with Kim Jong Un McEnany stamps her brand on White House press operation MORE Sanders said in a statement.