Akihito's abdication: Looking back on the Heisei Era from 1989 to 2019

Japan's Emperor Akihito, accompanied by Empress Michiko, waves to well-wishers before leaving Ujiyamada Station in the central Japanese prefecture of Mie, on April 18, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Japan uses its imperial eras to bookmark a period in time, and to reflect the zeitgeist and overall spirit of the population.

Heisei (achieving peace), which ends on April 30 when Emperor Akihito abdicates, will be remembered as a time of economic stagnation and severe disasters, but also a time when Japan's entertainment and sports icons won hearts all over the world.

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