JAPAN’S Emperor Akihito has announced his intention to step down, reported public broadcaster NHK on Wednesday.
While no specific date has been set yet for the abdication, the imperial family has accepted the 82-year-old regent’s wishes.
Citing unnamed sources at the Imperial Household Agency, Bloomberg reported that no specific reason has been given for the decision.
The monarch has reportedly encountered health problems in recent years, and suffered from a bout of influenza earlier this year, according to Reuters.
Akihito, who has ruled for 27 years, succeeded his father Hirohito in 1989 and was the first of the country’s emperors to hold the position in a merely symbolic capacity. He was also the first Japanese ruler to marry a commoner.
He will be succeeded by his eldest son, 56-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito.