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Emperor Akihito: abdication in sight?

Do Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko want to retire into private life?
Photo: AFP / Getty Images

He wants to assign tasks to his sons

It is a first sign that Emperor Akihito of Japan (79) is dealing with a possible abdication . As the Japanese imperial court was proclaiming loudly "Japan Times", Akihito and his wife Michiko (78) want to assign certain tasks to their sons after their 80th birthday.

Until now, it has always been official that Emperor Akihito, who is struggling with health problems time and again, wants to maintain the status quo. But now he wants to leave visits to kindergartens and retirement homes of the younger generation. This would be more appropriate anyway.

In the future, therefore, Crown Prince Naruhito (53) and his wife Masako (49), as well as Prince Akishino (47) and his wife Kiko (46) play with children and give courage to seniors.

Emperor Akihito will reach the age of 80 in December of this year, Empress Michiko in September next year. Especially for Crown Princess Masako, this will be a great test. She should suffer from depression and therefore sends her husband alone on official dates.

For the coronation of King Willem-Alexander (46), however, she made an exception. After seven years she traveled abroad again for the first time. She has a good friendship with the Dutch royal couple. In addition, her father lives in the Netherlands, so she has the strength to take on this challenge.

However, whether she could fully assume the duties of Empress Michiko in the future remains unclear. The Emperor will surely watch closely as Princess Masako masters her new responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Emperor Akihito and his wife can look forward to a little bit more privacy. Michiko is already very worried about her husband and she would certainly be right in her early retirement. But the Emperor is still too dutiful to allow himself to be abdicated by age ...

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