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Japan Emperor, Symbol of National Unity, Said to Seek Abdication

  • Crown Prince Naruhito next in line for Chrysanthemum Throne
  • Would be first abdication since nation opened up to West
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Feldman: Succession Line Solid Behind Japan's Emperor

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Japan’s Emperor Akihito, the first to serve from the outset in a purely ceremonial role, signaled his wish to step down in a matter of years, national broadcaster NHK reported.

The emperor, 82, has reigned for 28 years, after succeeding his father, Hirohito, in 1989. He would be succeeded by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, who is 56. NHK Wednesday cited unidentified people at the Imperial Household Agency and said the Crown Prince and other family members accepted Akihito’s wishes. A spokesman for the Imperial Household Agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the media report wasn’t true and there has been no formal announcement.