In this Jan. 2, 2017, file photo, Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers from the palace balcony during a New Year's public appearance with his family members at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
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A Japanese government panel Friday endorsed Emperor Akihito's apparent desire to abdicate as an exception, but avoided a key question of succession amid a declining royal population.The six-member advisory panel in its final report proposed allowing Akihito to abdicate under legislation that would be specially drafted only for him, to prevent future emperors from easily following suit.The report detailed procedures such as the title, status and roles for an abdicated emperor and his heir, but avoided divisive issues such as whether women should be included in the current male-only succession amid concerns about the shrinking royal population, including successors to the throne.
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