November 12, 1990 - Ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 125th Emperor of Japan, one year and ten months after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.
1992 - A state visit to China revives memories of Japan's brutal 14-year occupation of China (1931-1945), but no formal apology is offered.
1998 - A state visit to London brings out many demonstrations by British WWII prisoners-of-war demanding a formal apology and compensation for the treatment of POWs at the hands of Japanese soldiers.
June 16, 2000 - Akihito's mother, Nagako Kuni, the Empress Dowager of Japan dies.
December 1, 2001 - The birth of a daughter to Crown Prince Naruhito highlights the country's discussion on the law of succession. Japan's 1948 constitution allows for a male line of succession only. All of the Emperor's grandchildren are female.
January 18, 2003 - Successfully undergoes surgery for prostate cancer that had been diagnosed in December of 2002.
September 6, 2006 - Birth of his first grandson, Prince Hisahito, the first male heir born into the imperial family in 40 years. The last male heir was born November 30, 1965, Prince Akishino, the child's father.
July 14 - 16, 2009 - Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visit Hawaii. They do not visit Pearl Harbor, but lay a wreath at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific for veterans of both world wars, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.
November 13, 2009 -- Along with Empress Michiko, meets President Barack Obama in Japan.
March 16, 2011 - Emperor Akihito delivers a pre-recorded televised speech in the wake of Japan's devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. He urges the Japanese people to, "never give up hope, take care of themselves, and live strong for tomorrow."
November 6, 2011 - Hospitalized after suffering from a fever and bronchitis.
February 18, 2012 - Undergoes successful coronary artery bypass surgery.