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Japan's new emperor Naruhito: A cosmopolitan team player

Japan's future new emperor is a musician and historian who is expected to bring a global perspective to an ancient institution when he ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1.

The 59-year-old Naruhito will be Japan's first emperor to have studied abroad and will enjoy greater liberty in shaping his own role than his father.

Japan's constitution limits the emperor to a symbolic role, and Naruhito is likely to emulate his father, 85-year-old Akihito.

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2019, file photo provided by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan, Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako pose for a photo at their residence Togu Palace in Tokyo. Japan’s soon-to-be-anointed new emperor is a musician and historian, both mild-mannered and quietly tenacious, a team player and a loyal husband and friend who will bring an unusually global perspective to an ancient institution when he ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1, 2019. (Imperial Household Agency of Japan via AP, File)

Akihito chose to end his three-decade reign by abdicating April 30.

In an annual news conference ahead of his Feb. 23 birthday, Naruhito said he was open to taking up a new role that "suits the times."

FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2017, file photo, Japan's Emperor Akihito, right, waves to well-wishers, with Crown Prince Naruhito, left, on the bullet-proofed balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Naruhito, Japan’s future new emperor is a musician and historian who is expected to bring a global perspective to an ancient institution when he ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP PhotoKoji Sasahara, File)

In this Dec. 1983, photo, then Prince Hiro, current Crown Prince Naruhito, left, chats with friend Keith George, right, at Merton College at Oxford in England. The two young men hit it off from the start, and George, a friend of Naruhito’s since their days at Oxford, remembers Naruhito both for his sense of humor and their shared love of music: George played blue grass and country music on the banjo, and Naruhito played the viola. (Kyodo News via AP)