Emperor Akihito has expressed his desire to abdicate in the next few years
The old man with health problems in recent years wish to remain emperor if he has to reduce his official duties.
His whole family accept his decision
The BBC’s Steve Evans in the capital, Tokyo, says Akihito would be the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in 200 years.
Emperor Akihito had surgery for prostate cancer in 2003 and a heart bypass operation four years ago.
In 2011, he took the highly unusual step of making a televised national address following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.