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[TOKYO] Japan's parliament passed a law Friday that clears the way for its ageing Emperor Akihito to step down in what would be the first imperial abdication in more than two centuries.
The popular 83-year-old monarch shocked the country last summer when he signalled his desire to stand down after nearly three decades on the Chrysanthemum Throne, citing his age and health problems.
The unexpected move presented a challenge since there was no law to deal with an emperor retiring from what is usually a job for life.