The Japanese Parliament decided last week to allow the aging Emperor to abdicate.  He is 83, and requested abdication because of his age and health.

The current (and soon to be former) Emperor, Akihito,  is the son of Hirohito, who was Emperor of Japan during the Second World War.

This bill applies only to Akihito, and only for three years.  Rumor has it that he will abdicate in late 2018, but no date has been set.  His son, Naruhito, will inherit the throne.  It will be interesting to see how active Naruhito’s wife, Masako, will be as Empress.  She has struggled with her mental health for quite some time, and rarely appears in public.   However, she has been making a few more appearances in the last few years.

Sources:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/09/532187132/japans-emperor-will-be-permitted-to-abdicate

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/9734410/Japans-Crown-Princess-Masako-discusses-her-illness-on-49th-birthday.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29828756