TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s parliament has passed a law allowing Emperor Akihito to become the first monarch to abdicate in 200 years.
The 83-year-old emperor expressed his apparent wish to abdicate last August, citing old age and health.
Under the law enacted Friday, an abdication, which will be Japan’s first in 200 years, must take place within three years. It also highlights a pressing issue of the shrinking royal population and male successors. Female members who marry commoners lose their royal status.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ultra-conservative government supports the current male-only succession, which will make the 57-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito next in line to ascend the throne.
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