The main “Ceremony of the Abdication” took place in a state room of the Imperial Palace in front of about 300 people including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Crown Prince Naruhito, and Crown Princess Masako. Akihito thanked the public for their support during his 30-year reign. The Japanese government announced previously, in December 2017, that Akihito would abdicate due to his age and declining health. Akihito was born in the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Tokyo, Japan, and is the elder son and the fifth child of the Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito) and Empress Kōjun (Nagako). His formal Investiture as Crown Prince was held at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on 10 November 1952. Upon the death of Emperor Hirohito on 7 January 1989, Akihito acceded to the throne. His function was defined as entirely representative and ceremonial in nature, without even a nominal role in government.
Since succeeding to the throne, Akihito has made an effort to bring the Imperial family closer to the Japanese people. . Abdication by the Emperor required an amendment to the Imperial Household Law, which had no provisions for such a move. Emperor Akihito was interested in marine biology. He has written papers for scholarly journals and about the history of science during the Edo and Meiji eras. He is a member of the Ichthyological Society of Japan, a Honorary member of the Linnean Society of London, a Research associate of the Australian Museum, a Honorary member of the Research Institute for Natural Science of Argentina and more. Akihito is the first Japanese emperor to step down in more than 200 years. Prince Naruhito, married to Crown Princess Masako, will become Japan’s 126th emperor.