The emperor of Japan Akihito has abdicated today, it is the first time in 202 years of history.

The emperor of Japan Akihito abdicated today, it is the first time in 202 years of history. The 85-year-old monarch will leave the throne of Chrysanthemum in the hands of his son Naruhito, opening the new era Reiwa, the 24th in Imperial history which means ‘Order, Harmony and Peace’. The ceremony will take place according to rules established by the Constitution and the ‘Taiirei-Seiden-no-gi’ function (the traditional ritual of abdication of his majesty the emperor) will begin at 5 pm in the state room of the imperial palace in central Tokyo.

Japanese Emperor Akihito abdicates throne, bringing end to the Heisei period

The final ceremony of abdication of the Japanese Emperor Akihito, took place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, before the planned succession of the Crown Prince, Naruhito, tomorrow. “I sincerely thank the Japanese people for their support, and I hope that the new era is stable and a harbinger of good news,” said Akihito during the brief message at the end of the last public appearance of his thirty year reign.

Emperor Akihito dressed in traditional clothing, communicated his retirement to his ancestors, renouncing the throne after a reign lasting 30 years. It will be the first abdication in Japan since the emperor Kokaku left the throne in 1817. About 300 people, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ministers, will attend the ceremony, where the premier will offer words of thanks. Tomorrow, there will be a second ceremony in which Crown Prince Naruhito (59), Akihito’s eldest son, will ascend the throne and inherit the traditional insignia such as the sacred sword and jewels, as proof of succession.

The Japanese people will have the opportunity to meet the new emperor, his wife, the empress Masako (55 years) and other members of the royal family on May 4, when they face the balcony of the imperial palace, the Royal House Agency said. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who will become emeritus emperors and empress emeritus respectively following the abdication, are not required to attend the event. For Japan, the rise of Naruhito means the beginning of a new era and a month before the succession, the government announced that it would be called “Reiwa”.