The Japanese Cabinet approved legislation to allow Japan’s emperor to abdicate the throne, just this once. Emperor Akihito wishes to step down and give his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, “time to rule”. This is big news since Emperor Akihito’s abdication will be the first in 200 years.
Of course, there is the opinion for and against this action. Supporters welcome the idea of letting emperors retire (they did pre-1889 law). Opponents fear permanent change in the Imperial Household Law would lead to changes eventually allowing women to also be rightful heirs to the throne, although Japan had female emperors in the past as well.
One thing is certain–change. Somewhere I heard the phrase “Change is inevitable; growth is optional”. This certainly seems to be a time for Japan once again to embrace the challenge of change in its laws governing emperors. It will be interesting to watch!