TOKYO Ė Japanís outgoing emperor visited on Tuesday the tomb of his father on the outskirts of the Japanese capital city of Tokyo in one of the last official ceremonies before his abdication on April 30.
Emperor Akihito, 85, and Empress Michiko, 84, visited the mausoleum of former emperor Hirohito in Musashino Imperial Graveyard in Hachioji, near the western part of Tokyo.
It was one of the 11 official ceremonies scheduled before the emperorís abdication, the first by a living Japanese monarch in more than two centuries.
His eldest son, Naruhito, 59, will succeed the emperor in a closed-door ceremony on May 1 before being officially crowned in a public ceremony at the Imperial Palace in the capital on Oct. 22.
In a similar manner, the crown prince will take part in several official ceremonies and rituals which form a part of the process of succession.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abeís cabinet announced on Tuesday the appointment of the principal adviser of the crown prince, Nobutake Odano, as the new grand chamberlain from May 1.
Odano, 71, began working in the foreign affairs ministry in 1970. Between 2008 and 2011, he was Japanís ambassador to the European Union. A year later, he left the position and began working in the Imperial Household Agency.
The current grand chamberlain, Chikao Kawai, will take up a new position to support Emperor Akihito after his abdication.
Kawai, 66, began working in the foreign affairs ministry in 1975 and was vice-minister for foreign affairs between September 2012 and June 2013. He has held the post of grand chamberlain during the last four years.
Emperor Akihitoís abdication will be the first since the resignation of Emperor Kokaku in 1817. It will take place three years after he expressed his desire to abdicate the Chrysanthemum Throne due to his advanced age and delicate health.