Japan enacts law for Emperor Akihito, 83, to abdicate

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, is escorted by Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, left of Abe, commanding general of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, during a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va., Monday, April 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)


TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s parliament has passed a law allowing Emperor Akihito to become the first monarch to abdicate in 200 years.

The 83-year-old emperor expressed his apparent wish to abdicate last August, citing old age and health.

Under the law enacted Friday, an abdication, which will be Japan’s first in 200 years, must take place within three years. It also highlights a pressing issue of the shrinking royal population and male successors. Female members who marry commoners lose their royal status.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ultra-conservative government supports the current male-only succession, which will make the 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito next in line to ascend the throne.


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