Japan Emperor Akihito to abdicate in April 2019 – govt

Japan’s Emperor Akihito will step down on April 30, 2019, the prime minister announced Friday. This is the first retirement in more than two centuries in the world’s oldest imperial family. PM Shinzo Abe said he was “deeply moved” at the “smooth decision” taken at a special meeting of the Imperial Council to decide on the date for the popular 83-year-old to step down for health reasons. Akihito’s eldest son, 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito, is expected to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne the next day, AFP reported.