>> Will he or won't he? Japanese state media reporting that 82 year old Emperor Akihito is eyeing up an exit, but the Imperial Palace denies that's true. The Emperor has already had heart surgery and been treated for prostate cancer, and according to broadcaster NHK, he wants to give up the throne in the next few years.
If it happened, he'd become the first Emperor to abdicate since the early 1800s. But as Reuters' Elaine in Tokyo says, he's broken the mold before.>> He's been very different, he has spent a lot of time and a lot of energy just working to heal the wounds of the war.
He has reached out, he's gone overseas to many countries, and he has tried very hard to work for peace. He has even made some comments that seem to criticize Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Some people I've talked to have said that since he's been rather an active emperor, he and the Empress have gone out to a lot of places.
They go out to disaster zones. They go out to old folks' homes. If he is not able to do it, he might wonder what kind of emperor he can be.>> Emperor Akihito famously became the first Japanese monarch to visit China 24 years ago, saying he deplored Japan's treatment of the Chinese during the Second World War.
Another likely legacy, his take on the Emperor's role in modern Japan.>> He's the first emperor who took the throne, once the emperor system changed, to make him a symbol of the state rather than the actual active head. He also tried to make an image of the imperial family as just about anybody's family, and did not take up a lot of the respect and the rules that his father had.
>> In recent years, some of the Emperor's duties have been passed on to his eldest son. 56 year old Crown Prince Naruhito is next in line to the chrysanthemum throne.