Japanese Emperor Akihito celebrated his 85th birthday on 23rd December, the last one before he abdicates his throne in April next year. Over 80,000 attended the birthday celebrations held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo – the biggest crowd that has attended Akihito’s birthday celebrations ever. In his address, he gave an emotional speech, thanking the people of Japan for their support to him.
Akihito’s reign of three decades is the first in the history of modern Japan in which there has been no war. It is also often called the ‘Heisei’ era, which in Japanese means ‘achieving peace.’
In post-war Japan, The Emperor is only the titular head and does not possess any political powers. Akihito will be succeeded by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito.