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TOKYO, June 9. /TASS/. The upper chamber of the Japanese parliament unanimously passed a bill paving the way for the abdication of Emperor Akihito and the ascension of his son Crown Prince Naruhito.
A total of 235 out of 242 lawmakers took part in the vote, all of them supported the bill.
Under the document, the emperor may abdicate within three years after the adoption of the bill. The date of the future abdication has never been officially announced, however, according to media reports, it may take place in December 2018.
The special law outlines the conditions and procedures for the abdication of 83-year-old Emperor Akihito. It will be applied only to the current emperor and will set no precedents, in order to rule out possible pressure by the parliament on future emperors.
In early August 2016, Emperor Akihito, who is now 83, said in a televised address he was thinking about abdication over his old age. Public opinion polls demonstrate that the majority of the Japanese are not against his abdication.
His successor is Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, who is expected to ascend the throne on January 1, 2019.
After his abdication, Emperor Akihito will retain his privileges and will get the historical title of Daijo Tenno, often shortened to Joko, which can roughly be translated as retired sovereign.
The title of Joko was widely used in the feudal period when emperors’ abdications were rather a frequent thing, with 62 Japanese abdicating emperors.