Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, unveils the name of Japan’s next imperial era “Reiwa” at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Japan has unveiled the name of the new imperial era that will begin when Prince Naruhito becomes head of the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy next m(...)

Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Crown Prince Naruhito wave to the crowd during the new year’s greeting ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photograph: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

Japan’s Emperor Akihito has waved to throngs of well-wishers eager to see his final new year’s appearance before abdicating in several months. “I am (...)

Emperor Akihito delivers his last birthday speech next to Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan. Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

More than 82,000 well-wishers paid their respects to Japan’s Emperor Akihito who turned 85 on Sunday, his last birthday celebration at Tokyo’s Imperia(...)

US president Donald Trump and Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe. The president said Mr Abe “is going to be purchasing massive amounts of military equipment from the United States”. Photograph:  Kiyoshi Ota/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump has used his first visit to Japan as American president to single out the chronic trade imbalance between the two countries, but said a (...)

 Japan’s deputy prime minister Taro Aso has a history of gaffes. In 2001, as economics minister, he urged Japan to become a country where “rich Jews” would want to live.  Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Japan’s deputy prime minister has landed himself in hot water again after reportedly expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler. During a meeting with h(...)

Japan’s emperor Akihito. Photograph: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images

Japan’s parliament has passed a law allowing Emperor Akihito to become the first monarch to abdicate in 200 years, but put off a debate over how to ta(...)

Royal wedding: passersby in Tokyo watch a report that Princess Mako, the granddaughter of Japan’s emperor, is to marry Kei Komuro. Photograph: Hitoshi Takano/Kyodo News via AP

A royal engagement typically unleashes breathless headlines and frenzied efforts by the press to learn of the wedding details. All that is happening i(...)

Even asking parliament to change the law to allow him to retire could be seen as a breach of the strict taboo of intervention in politics. So Japan’s (...)

Emperor Akihto of Japan with then taoisech Bertie Ahern while on a three-day state visit, at Farmleigh House in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2007. Photograph: Getty Images

Japan’s imperial family largely shuns the media, except for mannered press events. One of these was put on for then taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2004, a (...)

Japanese emperor Akihito making a speech at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Sunday. “I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties,” he said in a taped message broadcast to the nation.  Photograph:  Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout via Reuters

Emperor Akihito of Japan has signalled to his country’s citizens that he wants to step down as head of the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy. The 8(...)

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