One of the longest monarchies in the world, the Japanese King Akihito is all set to step down in 2018. The Japanese Parliament has passed a bill authorizing the King to abdicate the next year. Akihito will be the first king in 200 years to exercise abdication. The King expressed last year that his health and age does not allow him to perform constitutional duties anymore.
The situation was complicated because there was no existing provision in the existing law which may allow him to step down. The government will now constitutionally start preparing for the abdication process of the king that may take place later next year. Akihito has gone through a heart surgery and has been treated for a prostate cancer. King Akihito succeeded his father, Hirohito, after his death in 1989.
In a rare address to the nation, King Akihito said that his health condition no longer allows him to perform official and constitution duties. Constitutionally, the king is not allowed for political statments. The newly passed law says that the king shall immediately be replaced by his 59 year old son Naruhito. The Chrysanthemum throne, as the Japanese call their kingdome, will be officially handed over to the Naruhito in a national ceremony.
BBC reported that the as the government of Japan does not have any specific time frame for the abdication but the law says that the process must be completed within three years of given time. The King of Japan is only a symbolic authority which receives foreign ambassadors and attends religious ceremonies. The king has no political or decision-making powers.