Japan’s Emperor Akihito celebrated Christmas Eve on his 83rd birthday, and took the opportunity to thank the population for their consideration when, earlier this year, he expressed a his desire to abdicate.
‘I am deeply grateful that many of you trusted what I said, and think deeply about the matter’, said the emperor in a statement on Friday.
Along with the rest of the royal family, including Crown Prince Naruhito, Emperor Akihito waved to the crowd from the Imperial Palace balcony.
According to palace sources, as many as 33,300 people turned up to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday.
In August this year, the country’s longstanding leader expressed his desire to abdicate. Concern over his age and deteriorating health were among the reasons why the Emperor wanted to step down after nearly three decades on the throne.
An expert panel, appointed by the government of Japan, are discussing the possibilityof allowing the Emperor to abdicate.
The present regulations were established in 1947, but relylargely on a 19th Century constitutional rule prohibiting abdication, on the grounds that it creates the risk of political instability.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today