NEW DELHI: Japan’s Emperor Akihito Tuesday stepped down as his son Naruhito prepared to take the Chrysanthemum Throne and usher in a new imperial era.
In Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, the popular 85-year-old ruler performed the abdication ritual in the presence of the imperial regalia, an ancient sword and sacred jewel kept for the emperor.
Draped in ornate golden-brown robes and black hat, Akihito reported his abdication to his ancestors and Shinto gods at various sanctuaries in the palace.
Akihito, in his farewell address, expressed his deepest heartfelt gratitude to the people of Japan and said he would pray for the peace and happiness of all the people in Japan and around the world.
The 59-year-old Naruhito will inherit the imperial regalia in a short minute ceremony on Wednesday, and would make his first address to the country as its 126th emperor.