photos

Emperor Akihito

In this photo released by Imperial Household Agency of Japan, Japan's Emperor Akihito, right, walks for a ritual at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Akihito started a series of rituals to report his planned abdication in late April to his ancestors.

Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP

Japanese Emperor Akihito, second from left, and Empress Michiko, third from left, are greeted by Crown Prince Naruhito, right, and Crown Princess Masako, second from right, during a ceremony in the celebration of New Year at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Kyodo News via AP

Well-wishers walk in prior to Japan's Emperor Akihito with his family members appear on the balcony of the Imperial Palace to mark the emperor's 85th birthday in Tokyo.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

From left to right, Japan's Crown Princess Masako, Crown Prince Naruhito, Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, greet to well-wishers as they appear on the balcony of the Imperial Palace to mark the emperor's 85th birthday in Tokyo.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko