In this Oct. 1, 1960, file photo, Crown Prince Akihito is photographed while on a boat trip around Manhattan Island sight-seeing in New York. In the background is the Statue of Liberty. The Japanese royals were in New York as part of their state visit. When he abdicates April 30, 2019, Akihito will become the first emperor in Japan’s modern history to see his era end without ever having a war. (AP Photo)

Emperor Akihito saw diplomacy as path to make amends for war

April 26, 2019 - 12:42 am

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Emperor Akihito has had a lifetime mission: Make amends for a war fought in his father's name.

Akihito was just 11 when he heard his father Hirohito's voice on the radio declaring Japan's surrender in World War II. Though he wouldn't become emperor himself for another 44 years, Akihito embraced his role as peacemaker and often represented his father on reconciliatory missions that began with Japan's return to the international community in the early 1950s.

When he abdicates April 30, Akihito will become the first emperor in Japan's modern history to see his era end without ever having a war.

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