Former Emperor Akihito Turns 86
It is his first birthday since his abdication on April 30th. In a video that was unveiled on his birthday, Emperor Emeritus Akihito and Empress Emerita Michiko are seeing flowers together at their current residence. The flowers were grown from seeds that came from a 2011 Tohoku earthquake-affected hotel in Iwate Prefecture. The Imperial Household Agency reported that the Emperor Emeritus currently has no health problems, and is preparing to move to the Takanawa Imperial Residence by next March. As a gobies researcher, the former emperor now visits the biological laboratory at the Imperial Palace a few times a week to prepare a paper. Agency officials also said the former imperial couple is spending a lot of time together, reading books and listening to piano and cello concerts.
In past years, December 23rd was a public holiday, but with the ascension of the new emperor, that too has changed.