Emperor Akihito, ruler of Japan since 1989, has abdicated and handed rule to his son, Naruhito. It is the first time a Japanese emperor has taken this action and did so because of old age. He succeeded his father Hirohito, emperor during World War II, and has been a committed pacifist, despite economic stagnation and tragedy for many Japanese people. However, his visits to emergency shelters after the 2011 earthquake enamoured him to much of the population, though it enraged conservative politicians.

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