London: Insisting that Japanese Emperor Akihito has no plans to step down, the imperial household has denied reports that the 82-year-old wants to abdicate, which would be an extraordinary move in 200 years.
Citing palace sources, Japanese state broadcaster NHK yesterday reported that Akihito wanted to pass the throne to his son, reports the Guardian.
Any move on abdication would be a huge shock to Japan where the royal family symbolises stability and continuity.
Meanwhile, the observers state that NHK and Kyodo News, which separately carried a similar report, would be extremely careful before reporting such story and would certainly have strong sourcing.
The government body Imperial Household Agency that runs the royal affairs has clearly denied the report.
“It is absolutely not true,” the Guardian quoted Shinichiro Yamamoto, the agency’s vice grand steward, as saying.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has, however, declined to comment on the matter.
Under a constitution imposed by the United States in the aftermath of Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, Akihito’s role is strictly limited to one of “symbol of the state”. (ANI)