Japan’s parliament proposes abdication law for emperor

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese ruling and opposition parties have given Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a proposal urging his government to write a special one-time law that would allow Emperor Akihito to abdicate.

Friday’s proposal will now go to a panel of experts commissioned by Abe to compile a final report on the abdication within the next few weeks. The government is expected to submit the legislation to parliament around May so it can be enacted during its current session, which ends in mid-June.

Akihito, 83, expressed last August his apparent wish to abdicate, citing concerns his age and health may start limiting his ability to fulfil his duties.

He would be the first emperor to abdicate in 200 years. Crown Prince Naruhito, Akihito’s oldest son, is first in line to the Chrysanthemum throne.