22:47 GMT17 January 2021
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    Japan's Emperor Akihito expressed concern on Monday that it may become increasingly difficult for him to fulfill his duties as the country’s monarch.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — Akihito ascended to the Japanese throne in 1989 after Emperor Hirohito's death. A merely ceremonial role in Japan's political system, the emperor is a symbol of the nation and of national unity according to the Japanese Constitution.

    "I am worried that it will become really difficult for me to carry out in full my role as a symbol [of the nation and unity of the Japanese people]," the 82-year-old emperor said in a 10-minute televised address to the nation.

    On July 13, media outlets cited a source in the Japanese government as saying that Akihito had voiced his intention to abdicate after 27 years on the throne.


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