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Japanese emperor's abdication: 6 things to know

Protocol surrounding Imperial succession changes for the first time in 200 years

Japan's Emperor Akihito, left, and Empress Michiko

TOKYO -- In less than a year, Japan's Emperor Akihito will relinquish the throne to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito. The abdication will mark the end of the Heisei era, which endured for more than 30 years. To minimize the impact on people's lives, the government will announce the name of the next Imperial era on April 1, 2019, a month before the crown prince becomes emperor.

Why the emperor decided to step aside

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