Asia

Japanese prince turns 10 amid talk on Emperor's abdication

  • In this photo taken Aug. 10, 2016 and provided by Imperial Household Agency of Japan on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Japan's Prince Hisahito looks at leaves beside a rice field of the Akasaka Detached Palace in Tokyo. Prince Hisahito turned 10 years old on Tuesday. (Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP)

    In this photo taken Aug. 10, 2016 and provided by Imperial Household Agency of Japan on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Japan's Prince Hisahito looks at leaves beside a rice field of the Akasaka Detached Palace in Tokyo. Prince Hisahito turned 10 years old on Tuesday. (Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Aug. 10, 2016 and provided by Imperial Household Agency of Japan on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Japan's Prince Hisahito poses with his sisters, Princess Kako, center, and Princess Mako at a rice field of the Akasaka Detached Palace in Tokyo. Prince Hisahito turned 10 years old on Tuesday. (Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP)

    In this photo taken Aug. 10, 2016 and provided by Imperial Household Agency of Japan on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Japan's Prince Hisahito poses with his sisters, Princess Kako, center, and Princess Mako at a rice field of the Akasaka Detached Palace in Tokyo. Prince Hisahito turned 10 years old on Tuesday. (Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Japan's Prince Hisahito has turned 10 amid national attention over the future of Japanese monarchy after Emperor Akihito, his grandfather, indicated a wish to abdicate.

Akihito, in a rare public address last month, expressed concern about fulfilling official duties as he ages, suggesting he would like to abdicate.

Hisahito, a fourth-grader who enjoys playing with bugs and helping rice-growing at a palace farm, is third in line to the chrysanthemum throne. His father, Prince Akishino, is second after his elder brother Crown Prince Naruhito.

The government is reportedly seeking to allow the Emperor's abdication by enacting a special law to avoid divisive issues, including a possible female succession.

Akihito and his wife Michiko have four grandchildren but only Hisahito is eligible to the throne under Japan's male-only succession system.