TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Emperor Akihito will issue a rare video message on Monday amid speculation he wants to abdicate.

Palace officials said Friday that Akihito in his recorded message will convey his thoughts about his official duties.

Akihito, however, is expected to avoid explicit reference to abdication, a step not written in imperial law and that would require a legal process he cannot request.

The possibility of abdication caught many by surprise last month when Japan’s NHK public television reported Akihito had expressed his intention to do so in the next few years.

At 82, Akihito still performs public duties including attending ceremonies, receiving foreign dignitaries and traveling in and out of Japan. In recent years, Akihito has mentioned his old age, citing small mistakes he made at ceremonies.

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