AZUZ: What is the only country in the world that currently has an emperor? Sweden, Thailand, Morracco, or Japan. Though the role is mostly symbolic, Japan's emperor is the only person with that title on the planet.
The country is officially a parliamentary, constitutional monarchy. Japan's decision making power is in the hands of its elected officials, and the emperor functions mostly as a symbol of the nation, but his birthday is a national holiday. And until 2017, he was required to serve in his role until he died. The nation changed the law that year. And now after 30 years on the throne, Emperor Akihito is preparing to step down on May 1st. He'll become the first Japanese monarch in 200 years to do that. His son, Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed him as Japan's 126th emperor. And on Monday, a month ahead of the new monarch's appointment, a new era will officially begin in Japan. Eras are what Japan's calendar system are based on, and they carry personal and political importance to many Japanese.