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Japan's parliament has approved a law permitting Emperor Akihito (left) to abdicate the throne as he requested. Members of the deliberately small royal family, including Empress Michiko (second from left), attend a spring garden party at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Japan's Cabinet has moved to allow Emperor Akihito to abdicate the throne — an event which hasn't happened in 200 years. Akihito (left) and Empress Michiko appeared with members of the royal family at the spring garden party at the Akasaka Palace imperial garden in Tokyo last month. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images