Former Emperor Akihito turned 87 on Wednesday, having spent much of the year quietly at his residence in Tokyo amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The former emperor marked his second birthday since stepping down from the Chrysanthemum Throne on April 30 last year when he became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in around 200 years. His eldest son Emperor Naruhito succeeded the throne the following day.

He looked relieved after a series of imperial succession rites concluded in November with his second son Crown Prince Akishino officially declared first in line to the throne, the Imperial Household Agency said.