Emperor Akihito has attended the final event of his reign outside the Imperial Palace according to the Japanese press.
The Emperor and his wife, Empress Michiko attended an annual award ceremony and reception on Friday in Tokyo. The ceremony was to present the Midori Academic Prize, founded by the AEON Environmental Foundation, and was hosted by the Cabinet Office.
The first presentation of the Midori Academic Prize took place in 2007. It was not held in 2011 or 2016 due to earthquakes in the country. The 2011 earthquake also caused a devastating tsunami to hit the island nation.
The Japan Times said that the Midori Prize is “awarded to recipients who have made significant contributions to conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity in various areas, including science, policy, public awareness and practical action.”
His Imperial Majesty’s final event as Emperor of Japan will be on the day of his abdication, 30 April when he takes part in the abdication ceremony at the Imperial Palace. At that point, the Heisei era will come to an end, and the Reiwa era will begin with the ascension of his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, 59, as the new Emperor of Japan on 1 May.
After his abdication, Emperor Akihito, 85, will be known as Emperor Emeritus and his wife, Empress Michiko, Empress Emerita. He will be the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in two centuries.
The Taiirei Seiden no Gi abdication ceremony will take place at 5:00 pm local time on 30 April with around 300 guests in attendance including Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and his cabinet. The Kenji to Shokei no Gi ceremony for the new Emperor will take place on 1 May at 10:30 am. At 11:10 am, the Sokuigo Choken no Gi ceremony will take place where Emperor Naruhito will meet representatives of the people for the first time in his new role.