Akihito, emperor of Japan to retire in 2019

Vastavam web: The emperor of Japan will step down on April 30, 2019, the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in two centuries, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday. Emperor Akihito, 83, said last year  that he planned to step down before his death, and Friday’s announcement set the date. Emperors were godlike figures in Japan before the end of World War II. When Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender over the radio on August 15, 1945, it was the first time average citizens had heard his voice.