tokio - The opportunity for Japanese emperor Akihito to step down has come a step closer. Parliament's warehouse voted Friday with a bill that allows 83-year-old Emperor to make throne distance.
Only a handful of parliamentarians voted against the bill. Presumably, the proposal will come to the vote in a parliamentary court within a few weeks.
The emperor said last year that his age and health made it difficult for him to fulfill his duties. Akihito has undergone a cardiac surgery and has been treated for prostate cancer. It would be the first abdication of a Japanese emperor in two hundred years. When the bill is accepted, crown prince Naruhito (57) will follow him.
It is a one-off law amendment that does not apply to future emperors. Throne distance under current Japanese law is not possible.