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Emperor Akihito abdicated through a series of rituals held at the Imperial Palace on Tuesday, ending the 30-plus years of the Heisei Era under his reign and paving the way for the enthronement of his son, Emperor Naruhito, and the launch of the new era of Reiwa.

Not unlike the preceding era of Showa, remembered as the tumultuous times in which Japan experienced the devastation of World War II and postwar reconstruction and prosperity, the outgoing period of Heisei — despite the origin of the Imperial era name that meant universal peace — was indeed a turbulent era both at home and abroad.

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