A look back at Japanese Emperor Akihito's three-decade reign

Issei Kato, Reuters | Japan's Emperor Akihito is seen behind Japanese national flags with Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako as he waves during New Year celebrations at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, January 2, 2019.

Japan's 85-year-old Emperor Akihito ends his three-decade reign on Tuesday when he abdicates to his son Crown Prince Naruhito. FRANCE 24 takes a look back at his 30 years as head of state.


Akihito will announce his abdication in a palace ritual on Tuesday evening, but technically he remains the emperor until midnight, when his era of "Heisei", or "achieving peace," ends and his son Naruhito takes over, starting a new "Reiwa" era of "beautiful harmony".

The succession has been marked by festivities across Japan, though the rituals are off-limits to the public and traffic will be tightly controlled outside the palace. A more elaborate enthronement ceremony for Naruhito will be held in October, when he will proclaim his ascension before officials and guests from inside and outside the country.

Please click on the video player above to watch FRANCE 24's explainer. 

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