Asia

Japan Emperor turns 83, thanks public over abdication wish

  • Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers as he appears on the bullet-proofed balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, to mark his 83rd birthday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

    Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers as he appears on the bullet-proofed balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, to mark his 83rd birthday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)  (The Associated Press)

  • Well-wishers cheer Japan's Emperor Akihito with his imperial families appear on the bullet-proofed balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. Akihito marked his 83rd birthday on Friday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

    Well-wishers cheer Japan's Emperor Akihito with his imperial families appear on the bullet-proofed balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. Akihito marked his 83rd birthday on Friday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers as he appears with Empress Michiko on the bullet-proofed balcony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, to mark his 83rd birthday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

    Japan's Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers as he appears with Empress Michiko on the bullet-proofed balcony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, to mark his 83rd birthday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)  (The Associated Press)

Japan's Emperor Akihito has marked his 83rd birthday, thanking the people for their concern and effort to accommodate his apparent abdication wish.

Akihito said in birthday remarks released Friday that he is "profoundly grateful that many people have lent an ear to my words and are giving sincere thought" to the issue.

Akihito also greeted thousands of well-wishers from the palace balcony.

Akihito, in a rare address in August, indicated his wish to abdicate, citing concerns that his age and health conditions may start limiting his ability to fulfill his duties.

A government-commissioned panel of experts is discussing a possibility of enacting a special law allowing his abdication, without touching more controversial issues, including an option of allowing a female emperor.