END OF AN ERA

Japan’s Emperor: I Might Abdicate

In video remarks, Japanese Emperor Akihito, 82, said Monday that he believes his age and failing health may prevent him from carrying out his official duties, suggesting that he may abdicate in the coming days. Akihito reportedly has had heart surgery and was treated for prostate cancer. “When I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state with my whole being, as I have done until now,” he said. The emperor has no political power, but Reuters reports that Akihito believes vehemently that an emperor’s full performance of his duties is an integral part of his constitutional role as a symbol of unity in the country.