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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Japan's Emperor Akihito will step down April 30, 2019, the prime minister announced Friday, the first retirement in more than two centuries in the world's oldest imperial family.Akihito's eldest son, 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito, is expected to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne the next day.The abdication will bring to an end the current Heisei era, which has lasted the 30 years Akihito has been on the throne.There have been abdications in Japan's long imperial history dating back more than 2,600 years but the last one was more than two centuries ago.Akihito is the 125th person to sit on the Chrysanthemum Throne since Emperor Jimmu, said to be a descendant of the legendary sun goddess Amaterasu.The status of the emperor is sensitive in Japan given its 20th century history of war waged in the name of Akihito's father Hirohito, who died in 1989 .
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