TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Emperor Akihito, who turns 85 on Sunday and will abdicate this spring, says he feels relieved to see the era of his reign coming to an end without having seen his country at war.
At an emotional news conference recorded for Sunday at the palace, Akihito says that it's important never to forget the countless lives lost in World War II, and that Japan's postwar prosperity was built on their sacrifices.
Akihito was 11 when the war fought in the name of his father, Hirohito, ended. He has devoted his career to atone for the scars of the war, including visits to countries victimized by Japan's wartime actions.
Akihito is abdicating on April 30, with his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, succeeding the Chrysanthemum Throne the next day.