December 13, 2017
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Japan sets April 2019 as ideal date for Emperor Akihito's abdication

Tokyo, Dec 1 (efe-epa).- The government and the Japanese Imperial House Agency have agreed Friday to mark Apr. 30, 2019 as the most favorable date for the abdication of Emperor Akihito, which will be the first resignation from the throne by a living emperor in two centuries.

A meeting in Tokyo between Government representatives, the Imperial House and Japanese legal experts decided on the abdication date after the emperor expressed his desire to leave office, announced Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

"We have chosen April 30 as the date for the emperor's abdication," Abe told the media after the meeting.

Apr. 30 is considered as the ideal date for abdication given that it would coincide with the beginning of the Japanese fiscal and administrative year further facilitating all legislative and administrative procedures that will lead to the arrival of Crown Prince Naruhito, elder son and successor of Akihito to the throne.

The 83-year-old emperor would leave the throne at the age of 85 and almost three years after expressing his desire to abdicate through an unprecedented televised message.

Abe also expressed his satisfaction with the decision, calling it a big step for the succession in the Imperial family and adding that the government will promote legislative initiatives and the necessary efforts for the abdication to take place.

Akihito's resignation at the end of April 2019 will allow Naruhito to assume the Chrysanthemum throne on May 1 marking the beginning of a new era that same month, an important detail for the organization of the Japanese calendar.

In Japan each new monarch entails a change of era which represents the reign of an emperor.

The current era, called "Heisei" or peace began on Jan. 8, 1989, the day after the death of Hirohito, former emperor and father of Akihito.

In August 2016 Akihito expressed his desire to abdicate due to his advanced age and delicate health and once it is carried out will mark the first abdication by a living emperor since the resignation of Emperor Kokaku in 1817.

As a result of this announcement, the Japanese Parliament passed legislation in July to allow the Emperor's abdication, which was not covered by the current Japanese Constitution.

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