TOKYO, July 13: Japan's Emperor Akihito has expressed his intention to retire and relinquish his title in the next few years, the country's public television said Wednesday.
NHK said the 82-year-old Akihito did not wish to remain emperor if he had to reduce his official duties. Akihito in recent years has referred to his old age, and the Imperial Household Agency has suggested cutting back on his duties.
The Emperor, however, has hardly reduced the amount of his work, and continued to attend ceremonies, greets foreign dignitaries and traveled to northern and southern Japan to comfort residents following deadly earthquakes.
The NHK report Wednesday evening cited unidentified agency sources. Kyodo News agency carried a similar report that quoted government officials.
It was not known if he had a timeline to relinquish his title to Crown Prince Naruhito.
The Imperial Household Agency declined to comment, and denied any speculation about Akihito's health.
The Imperial law does not specify rules about the timing of succession.
The last succession from a living emperor was about 200 years ago.