Watch back: Japanese Emperor Akihito abdicates in Tokyo ceremony

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By Emma Beswick
Watch back: Japanese Emperor Akihito abdicates in Tokyo ceremony

Japan's Emperor Akihito was on Tuesday set to step down from his role after 30 years on the Chrysanthemum throne.

The 85-year-old will be the country's first monarch to abdicate in 200 years.

During his reign, Emperor Akihito endeared himself to the Japanese people through his interactions with the sick and victims of disasters.

The monarch was granted legal permission to step down after he explained he did not feel able to carry out his duties due to his age and health issues.

In a rare address in 2016, he hinted at his abdication.

"When I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the State," he said.

Tab through the picture slideshow to take a look back at the monarch's rule:

Tuesday's events will kick off with several private ceremonies at the Imperial Palace.

The main ceremony to perform the abdication ritual will only take 10 minutes.

It is set to take place at 5.00 pm local time (9 am CEST) in the 370-square-metre "Matsu-no-Ma" (Pine Room), considered the most elegant hall in the palace.

Emperor Akihito son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend the Chrysanthemum throne on Wednesday.

While the emperor of Japan does not hold any political power, he serves as a national symbol.