TOKYO – Japanese emperor Akihito is set to step down from the throne, the country’s first monarch to abdicate in more than 200 years.
The day’s ceremonies began with several private rituals in the Imperial Palace.
The 85-year-old has been given legal permission to abdicate after saying he felt unable to fulfil his role because of his age and declining health.
His son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend the Chrysanthemum throne the next day, beginning a new era.
The emperor in Japan holds no political power but serves as a national symbol. (BBC)