Japan Emperor turns 84, thanks people over abdication plans

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 Saturday.

TOKYO — Japan’s Emperor Akihito marked his 84th birthday on Saturday with a pledge to fulfill his duties until the day of his abdication in 2019, and to prepare for “passing the torch to the next era.”