Japanese Ambassador Takashi Kurai and Rieko Kurai hosted a reception on Tuesday to celebrate the 85th birthday of Emperor Akihito, the 125th Emperor of Japan.Emperor Akihito will be 85 years old on December 23, 2018. Privatisation Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro was the chief guest on the occasion. The reception was attended by ministers, parliamentarians, senior government officials, members of the diplomatic community and other dignitaries from the public and private sector.Ambassador Takashi Kurai, along with the distinguished guests, cut a cake to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Akihito after the national anthems of Japan and Pakistan were played.The Imperial Household of Japan is the oldest now existing lineage in the world, dating more than 2,000 years back, since the foundation of the first Emperor Jimmu in 660 BC according to Japan’s oldest history book Nihonshoki. Today, under Japan’s postwar constitution, the emperor is featured as a symbol of the nation, embodying the unity of its people. Emperor Akihito was born in Tokyo in 1933 as the first son of the late Emperor Hirohito.December 23 is celebrated as a national holiday in Japan. The era of Emperor Akihito’s reign is called Heisei. On April 30, 2019, Emperor Akihito will abdicate and the crown prince will ascend throne on May 1. This is the last official birthday ceremony for Emperor Akihito.Published in Daily Times, December 6th 2018.