TOKYO, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 8th Augst,2016) - Japan's Emperor Akihito is set to make a rare address to the nation on Monday in remarks widely expected to signal that the 82-year old monarch wishes to abdicate -- something that hasn't happened in two centuries. Speculation about the emperor's future emerged last month with reports he had told confidantes that advancing age was making it harder to perform his ceremonial duties and that he would like to step down in a few years.
After weeks of public denials the palace broke its silence on Friday, announcing that Akihito would make an address on Monday at 0600 GMT about his "feelings regarding his duties as a symbol" of the nation. Previous emperors, including wartime sovereign Hirohito, were deemed semi-divine but in the aftermath of Japan's World War II defeat and occupation became constitutionally limited to "symbol of the state and of the unity of the people".
The address, reportedly to last about 10 minutes, marks only the second time for Akihito to speak directly to the nation, the first having been in the days after the March 2011 triple earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster as he sought to calm a nation undergoing its worst crisis since the war. Akihito will reportedly speak obliquely about his wishes and is unlikely to utter the word abdication due to constraints on his involvement in politics.