Considering his health problems in recent years, Japan’s 85-year-old Emperor Akihito decided to step down and hand over his duties to his son on April 30. The past Emperor is still quite popular and will be remembered for his close connection with his people. According to Japan imperial law, succession happens only after the death of a monarch. The decision of Akihito made him the first Japanese monarch in modern history to abdicate his throne while he is still alive.
ascend the throne（動詞）登上王位;登基
Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, will carry on the tradition and duty as a national symbol while standing as head of state for a modern, democratic Japan. After a nearly yearlong process of imperial succession, Akihito’s final duty is the handover ceremony, taiirei seiden no gi on April 30 and Crown Prince Naruhito then officially ascends the throne as the 126th emperor of Japan on May 1.