Crown Prince Naruhito

Japan's new Emperor Naruhito succeeds father Akihito

In his first act as emperor, he will inherit Japan's Imperial Treasures in a deeply symbolic ceremony.

The emperor in Japan holds no political power but serves as a national symbol.

Emperor Akihito, 85, who chose to abdicate due to his age and failing health, stepped down on Tuesday.

"I hereby pray for the well-being and happiness of our country and people of the world," he said in his final address.

The new imperial era "Reiwa", whose name signifies order and harmony, began at midnight local time, and will last as long as Naruhito's reign.

Japanese Emperor Akihito 'plans to abdicate'

The 82-year-old, who has had health problems in recent years, did not cite a reason for his decision.

He has been head of state for 27 years and his abdication would be an unprecedented move in modern Japan.

Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, is next in line to succeed him.