Emperor Akihito became the first to renounce the Chrysanthemum’s Throne in 200 years. He did a ceremony in which he thanked the Japanese for their support in these 30 years of reign.
“Today I’m done as emperor,” said Akihito in the ceremony at the Matsu no ma Imperial Palace in Tokyo. There attended around 300 people and broadcast live on television.
Akihito has recognized his fate by being able to perform his duties “with the deep trust and respect of the Japanese during the 30 years”. Hi arrived on the throne on January 8, 1989 after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.
“To the people who accepted me and supported me as a symbol, I express my most sincere gratitude,” he added. In the summer of 2016 had expressed his desire to abdicate due to his health problems.
“Together with the Empress, I hope from the bottom of my heart that the new era that begins tomorrow (1st May) will be peaceful and fruitful. I pray for the peace and happiness of our country and the people of the whole world,” he remarked, referring to the reign of his son, Prince Naruhito.
Some of the guests of the formal act of abdication were: Prince Naruhito and his wife, Princess Masako; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; the presidents of both Houses of Parliament and other senior state officials.
He thanked Akihito who “always shared the joys and sorrows with the people” during his 30 years on the throne. He lived through the post-war period after Japan’s defeat in World War II as well as natural disasters such as the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
“While keeping the emperor’s path in our hearts, we will do everything we can to create a bright future for a proud Japan that is full of peace and hope,” the prime minister said.
Effective abdication at midnight
The formal departure from the throne will take place at midnight this Tuesday 30th April. In addition, from that moment Akihito will not be able to exercise any public function. From Wednesday 1st May, Prince Naruhito, will take over.
Before this ceremony, Akihito has notified his abdication in the sanctuaries inside the Imperial Palace, including the one honoring the goddess Amaterasu Omikami.