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Japanese Emperor Akihito (file photo)
Japanese Emperor Akihito (file photo)

Japanese Emperor delivers emotional birthday statement before abdication

ANI | Updated: Dec 23, 2018 15:32 IST

Tokyo [Japan], Dec 23 (ANI): As Japan's Emperor Akihito celebrated his 85th birthday on Sunday, he gave a final, yet emotional and heart-touching, statement before stepping down from the throne in April next year.
Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate from the Chrysanthemum Throne on April 30, 2019, becoming the first Japanese monarch to do so in around 200 years. After Emperor Akihito steps down, his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will take over from May 1, 2019, CNN reported.
Delivering a statement at the Imperial Palace here, which divulged from the timeline of his reign when Emperor Akihito succeeded the throne in 1989 following the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito to natural disasters, the monarch said: "I have believed it is important not to forget that countless lives were lost in World War II and that the peace and prosperity of post-war Japan was built upon the numerous sacrifices and tireless efforts made by the Japanese people, and to pass on this history accurately to those born after the war. It gives me deep comfort that the Heisei Era is coming to an end, free of war in Japan."
Emperor Akihito noted that Japan looked forward to changes in its homogenous population as it becomes ready to welcome foreigners to the Asian country. "I hope that the Japanese people will be able to warmly welcome as members of our society those who come to Japan to work here," he said.
Commenting on the natural disasters he faced during his reign, the Emperor said that "the catastrophic destruction caused by the force of nature was beyond his imagination," adding that the calamities during his nearly 30-year-old reign have left an "indelible impression on his mind."
"I have been heartened to see that, in the face of such difficulties, the spirit of volunteering and other forms of cooperation is growing among the people and that the awareness of disaster preparedness and the capacity to respond to disasters are increasing. I am always touched by the sight of people coping in an orderly manner when disasters strike," Emperor Akihito underlined.
Thanking his wife, Empress Michiko, who was once a commoner, for taking up the public role, and with whom he married in 1959, Emperor Akihito said that he was happy to serve the people of Japan during his reign.
"As I come to the end of my journey as Emperor, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart the many people who accepted and continued to support me as the symbol of the state. I am also truly grateful to the Empress, who herself was once one of the people, but who chose to walk this path with me, and over sixty long years continued to serve with great devotion both the imperial family and the people of Japan, "Emperor Akihito further said.
In August 2016, Emperor Akihito delivered a rare televised address, where he had stated that his age and health could make it "difficult" for him to continue his reign.
Following this, the Japanese government announced that the Emperor would abdicate the throne and would be succeeded by Prince Naruhito. The country's Parliament had also signed a historic bill into law allowing the monarch to constitutionally step down from his post. (ANI)