The emperor of Japan has questioned his ability to perform ceremonial rituals due to his waning health. His remarks are largely seen as a plea for lawmakers to create the legal measures necessary for abdication.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have welcomed their first foreign dignitary to the Imperial Palace. US President Donald Trump has attended a state banquet ahead of talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
More than a million people have been evacuated amid torrential rain in southern Japan. The swift response comes a year after authorities were criticized for a slow reaction to landslides that killed over 200 people.
As a new imperial era begins in Japan, Emperor Akihito has left behind a legacy of modernity and compassion. During his 30-year reign, he defied monarchial norms, drawing both criticism and praise.
The "Heisei" imperial era will end on April 30 when Emperor Akihito steps down. Japan's government says the imperial era associated with his successor will be known as "Reiwa."
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