The official ceremonies began with several private family rituals in the Imperial Palace.
The 85-year-old Emperor received official permission to abdicate after he stated that he could no longer perform this role due to his advanced age and health.
The country’s Parliament was forced in 2017 to adopt a special law allowing Akihito to abdicate.
The Emperor in Japan has no political power. But, according to the Constitution, he is an important symbol of the state and the unity of the people.
Akihito’s reign was marked by the Emperor’s concern for people suffering from diseases and various catastrophes, for which he was loved by the Japanese.
Akihito’s son, 59-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend to the throne the next day, May 1.
Akihito is the 125th Emperor of Japan and the representative of the oldest ruling dynasty in the world.
From that day on, Japan will begin a new era called the “Reiva” (“harmony” or “blooming world”), which replaces the era of “Heisei” (“achieving peace”).
After the abdication, Akihito will receive the title “Emperor at rest.” He will retain the privileges and state security, and after his death will be buried in compliance with all the Imperial ceremonies.