Japan's emperor has abdicated for the first time in 200 years. Emperor Akihito stepped down from the throne on April 30. He was emperor for 30 years. His son Crown Prince Naruhito is the new emperor. Akihito stepped down because of his health. He is 85 and has been slowing down recently. He has also had some health scares. He thinks his son is better able to carry out the duties of emperor. Emperor Akihito will be remembered for his personal touch with his people after many national disasters. He always visited people after earthquakes, tsunami and other disasters.
Emperor Naruhito, 59, became the 126th emperor of the world's oldest monarchy. He spent two years at Oxford University. His wife, the new Empress Masako, studied at Harvard University. She was a diplomat. A ceremony took place in which Naruhito received a sacred sword, a jewel and official seals that date back thousands of years. The ceremony took place in the middle of a Japanese holiday that was extended to ten days to celebrate the new emperor. Millions of Japanese watched the historic event on their TVs and smartphones.