Japan Emperor Akihito to abdicate

Japan’s parliament passed a law 9th of June, allowing Emperor Akihito to become the first monarch to abdicate in 200 years.

Akihito, 82, said in a special television address last August that his time to go was approaching because of declining health and age.

Under the new law, an abdication must take place within three years, according to the Associated Press. Akihito’s retirement raises delicate questions about the Lex Salica (Salic Law), excluding female succession, conservative efforts to rewrite Japan’s war-renouncing constitution and the imperial family’s place in society.

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

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