Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Japan's Emperor Suggests He Would like to Abdicate

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Japan's Emperor Suggests He Would like to Abdicate

Article excerpt

TOKYO * Japan's emperor expressed concern Monday about fulfilling his duties as he ages, in a public address that was remarkable for its rarity and for its suggestion that he would like to abdicate.

"Fortunately I am now in good health. However, when I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become more difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state," Akihito, 82, said in the recorded speech broadcast on national television.

Japan's post-World War II constitution restricts what the emperor can say as a symbolic monarch with no political power.

Akihito avoided explicit mention of abdication, which could have violated those restrictions.

The speech was seen in part as an attempt to explain to the public why he might want to abdicate. …

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