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Japanese Emperor marks 84th birthday

By Reuters
23 December 2017   |   1:39 pm
Japan's Emperor Akihito marks his 84th birthday as tens of thousands of well-wishers gathered at the Imperial Palace grounds.

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Japanese Emperor Akihito will step down on Tuesday in an unusual move that’s stunned the Japanese public - typically emperors reign until death. It will mean a lengthy holiday - 10 days straight with markets closed. And it may set a precedent, as Japan faces a dwindling number of heirs.
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Emperor Akihito prayed to a Shinto sun goddess on Tuesday, starting a string of ceremonies to end a 30-year reign. The 85-year-old, Japan's first emperor to abdicate in two centuries, will cede power to his son Naruhito.