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JAPAN: Huge crowds as monarch gives emotional farewell

More than 80,000 people have paid their respects to Japan’s Emperor Akihito as he gave his final birthday address before his abdication in April.

The emperor, 85, said he took “deep comfort” that his reign had passed without Japan again engaging in war.

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He became emotional as he thanked the people of Japan and his wife Empress Michiko for their support.

Akihito is the first living monarch to relinquish the Chrysanthemum throne in nearly 200 years.

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The emperor, who has had heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer, will be succeeded in April by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito.

His three-decade reign is known as the “Heisei” era, which means “achieving peace” in Japanese.

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