“(In August) I delivered a message expressing what has been on my mind over the last few years, reflecting on my years as the Emperor and contemplating on my role and my duties as the Emperor in the days to come,” Akihito said, according to a translation by the Imperial Household Agency.
“I am profoundly grateful that many people have lent an ear to my words and are giving sincere thought to the matter in their respective positions,” he added.
But even if the emperor wants to relinquish his role and pass it on to his eldest son Naruhito, Japan currently has no legal provision for him to retire.
In the statement the emperor also recalled his uncle prince Mikasa, who passed away in October at the age of 100.
“The prince was one of the Imperial Family members who had experienced World War II first hand, and it meant much to me to be able to hear him talk of his experience,” the emperor said.