The emperor, who has had health issues in recent years, said at a press conference that he appreciated the Japanese people's response to his rare video message in August indicating an apparent desire to abdicate.
"(In August) I delivered a message expressing what has been on my mind over the last few years, reflecting on my years as the Emperor and contemplating on my role and my duties as the Emperor in the days to come," Akihito said, according to a translation by the Imperial Household Agency.
"I am profoundly grateful that many people have lent an ear to my words and are giving sincere thought to the matter in their respective positions," he added.
But even if the emperor wants to relinquish his role and pass it onto his eldest son Naruhito, Japan currently has no legal provision for him to retire.
In the statement the emperor also recalled his uncle prince Mikasa, who passed away in October at the age of 100.
"The prince was one of the Imperial Family members who had experienced World War II first hand, and it meant much to me to be able to hear him talk of his experience," the emperor said.
Published : December 23, 2016
By : Deutsche Presse Agentur