The monarch was granted legal permission to step down after he explained he did not feel able to carry out his duties due to his age and health issues.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko aim to move to the renovated Togu Palace on the Akasaka Estate, also in the capital, after a year and a half in the Takanawa residence. A new era - called Reiwa, meaning order and harmony - will begin in Japan's unique calendar. But Akihito's dedication in reaching out to the people, especially those suffering or less fortunate, made him more popular than any politician.
Naruhito will ascend the throne on Wednesday morning in a similarly brief ceremony, during which he will "inherit" the imperial regalia before making his first public statement as emperor.
The ceremony opened with chamberlains carrying the state and privy seals into the hall along with two of Japan's "Three Sacred Treasures" - a sword and a jewel - which together with a mirror are symbols of the throne, Reuters reported.
The ceremony was expected to be attended by just one woman - the sole female member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet.
"Today, I am concluding my duties as the emperor", Akihito said as he stood in front of the throne before a gathering that included his wife, Empress Michiko, other members of the royal family and top government officials.
In a short speech, Abe thanked Akihito for "always sharing joy and sorrow with the people".
Why did the emperor decide to abdicate?
In a rare address in 2016, he hinted at his abdication. "I think the people really warmed to him and felt that the monarchy was relevant to their lives because of these efforts by Akihito".
There are also arguments created to use the abdication of the emperor-who tried to remain firmly committed to the principles of the postwar Constitution-as an opportunity to undermine values guaranteed under the Constitution, such as freedom, human rights and equality, for a political agenda to review the nation's postwar regime.
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US Fed defies Trump and holds interest rates The Federal Reserve has made a decision to keep its benchmark interest rate right where it is, despite the protestations of U.S. A cut of a full percentage point would take the USA benchmark interest rate back to where it was in December 2017.
President Donald Trump sent congratulations, offering "heartfelt appreciation" to the outgoing imperial couple and stressing the "close relationship" between the United States and Japan.
Japan's centuries-old succession would be broken if that son, Hisahito, does not have a male child.
No doubt it will be a balancing act of tradition and modernity when Naruhito takes power, as he tries to shield his family and modern values in one of the world's oldest monarchies. Legends date it back to about 600 BC.
Emperor Naruhito is now the 126th Emperor of Japan.
In fact, Japanese emperors used to be seen as gods, but the country's wartime emperor Hirohito - Naruhito's grandfather - publicly renounced his divinity at the end of World War Two, as part of Japan's surrender.
Akihito became emperor of Japan on January 8, 1989.
Previous emperors rarely interacted with the public, but Akihito redefined the role - and has come to be known for his compassion.
Police have tightened security near the Imperial Palace, a 115-hectare site that is home to the emperor and empress in the heart of Tokyo.
The Golden Week break - Japan's annual spring holiday - has been extended to a record 10 days to mark the occasion. "I hope the next emperor will, like the Heisei emperor, be close to the people in the same way".
No emperor in the past had the experience of studying overseas, and he is also the first emperor not to be separated from his family and brought up largely by nannies.
"While keeping in our mind the way Your Majesty has lived, we the people of Japan are determined to work for the creation of a bright future for Japan as a peaceful country full of hope and pride", he said.
Meanwhile royal fans are anxiously awaiting any sign of news about the royal birth, which is being kept exceptionally private . Prince Harry was spotted at Easter service up at the castle, sans Meghan, who was resting at home.
And in one of the final portraits, the Princess dons a handsome blue floral dress while she sits on the green grass. Kate also took a very sweet series of images of Louis during their stay at Anmer Hall to mark his special day!
Berkshire Hathway would get 100,000 shares of cumulative perpetual preferred stock with a value of US$ 100,000 a share. It's not Berkshire's track record in the energy sector, however, that would be the most valuable asset to Occidental.
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Suthida joined the palace guard in 2013 and became commander of the king's security unit, now holding a general's rank. Bhumibol Adulyadej ruled for 70 years before his death, making him the longest-reigning monarch in the world.
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