Japanese Emperor Akihito intends to step down in coming years, public broadcaster NHK says, a step unprecedented in modern Japan.
The 82-year-old monarch, who has had health problems in recent years, expressed his intention to the Imperial Household Agency, NHK said. It did not cite a reason.
Palace officials denied the report.
If he does, it would be the first abdication of a Japanese emperor in 200 years.
Emperor Akihito, who has been emperor for 27 years, this year was diagnosed with influenza. Born in 1933, he was heir to Emperor Hirohito, in whose name Japan fought World War II. His heir is Crown Prince Naruhito, aged 56.
Reuters / Newshub.