TOKYO, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Emperor Akihito has expressed the intention to end his reign in coming years, local media reported, quoting government sources.
The 82-year-old emperor, who has reigned for over 27 years since 1989, has expressed his hope to abdicate to the Imperial Household Agency, said public broadcaster NHK.
His 56-year-old son, Crown Prince Naruhito, is expected to succeed to the throne, said NHK.
But Kyodo News denied the news, quoting Shinichiro Yamamoto, a senior official from the Imperial Household Agency. "I know there are media reports about this, but it is definitely not true," Shinichiro Yamamoto was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.
Emperor Akihito has no health issues requiring immediate abdication, said Kyodo News, quoting another source who said the emperor has been expressing his intention to abdicate to people around him for about a year.
Meanwhile, according to local media, if the emperor is to abdicate, the Imperial House Law might need revision, as the law, enacted in 1947 to rule for imperial affairs, does not include any provision for a reigning emperor to abdicate.
The process of revising the law, involving deliberations by an expert panel to the government, is expected to require a few years, said Kyodo News.