Emperor Akihito has announced his intention to abdicate in several years and pass onto his eldest son Crown Prince Naruhito. The Emperor’s ‘Heisei’ reign is in its 28th year.
The Japanese government must pass legislation to allow this to happen. I am sure that will be a formality. I was at a local coffee shop several months ago when the Imperial couple drove past. The crowds, even on local back streets showed how much they are revered.
Despite her background, Empress Michiko won herself a reputation of being one of the “real” people. Despite her wealthy background she was regarded a commoner. She wanted to raise her own kids rather than outsource to chamberlains which was common practice.
Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, whom Newsweek once raised the back of the Imperial Household Agency by running the cover page “Reluctant Princess”, will certainly be viewed as a far more international couple. They’ll need to be given the likely growing tensions with neighbouring super powers.