Japanese emperor has abdicated for first time in more than 200 years. Emperor Akihito stepped down from Chrysanthemum Throne on April 30 after 30 years of being Japanese monarch. He made way for his son Crown Prince Naruhito to become new emperor. Akihito decided to step down because of his health. At age of 85, he has been visibly slowing down for past few years. He has also had couple of health scares. He believes his son is now better able to carry out duties of emperor. Emperor Akihito will be remembered for using personal touch to bring his people together after many national disasters. He continually visited people after earthquakes, tsunami and other tragedies.
new Emperor Naruhito became the 126th emperor to ascend throne of the world's oldest monarchy. Naruhito, 59, spent two years studying at Oxford University. His wife, new Empress Masako, studied at Harvard University and worked as diplomat. traditional ceremony took place as part of historic handover. In the ceremony, Naruhito received a sacred sword, a jewel and official seals that date back thousands of years. The ceremony took place in middle of ten-day Japanese holiday. The traditional Golden Week holiday was extended to allow people to celebrate new emperor. Millions of Japanese were glued to their TVs and smartphones watching historic event.