Japanese cabinet OKs bill allowing emperor to abdicate
File photo of Japanese emperor.[Photo:Xinhua]
Japan's government has approved a bill to allow Emperor Akihito, 83, to abdicate.
The bill has been drafted out of consideration for Akihito's weakening health and advancing age, after he expressed doubt that he could continue carrying out his official duties. If the bill is passed, this would be the first imperial abdication in 200 years.
The bill is set to be handed to the Diet later on Friday for debate and final approval.
December 2018 is considered the possible date of Akihito's abdication, when he turns 85 years old. The nation's era name “gengo” is also expected to change at the beginning of 2019 after he vacates the throne.
Emperor Akihito acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne in 1989 at the age of 56 from his father Emperor Shōwa.