Japan studying feasibility of emperor’s abdication
11 Jan 2017 - 12:36
TOKYO: A Japanese government panel is studying possible legislation that could pave the way for Emperor Akihito to abdicate after he expressed his wish to hand over the throne to his elder son, according to local media Wednesday.
The government has been deliberating on possible arrangements for Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, to ascend the throne on Jan. 1, 2019, Kyodo news agency also reported, citing a government source.
In August, Emperor Akihito announced in a speech broadcast directly to the Japanese people that he wanted to hand over the public burdens of the monarchy.
On Dec. 23, he celebrated his 83rd birthday by thanking the public for their welcoming response to his message.
The Imperial Household law governing the emperor’s itinerary, however, has no provision for an imperial abdication as emperors are expected to serve until death.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government established an advisory panel in September to review the feasibility of abdication and ways that the burden on the emperor could be alleviated.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference Tuesday that the six-member panel is continuing its discussions and is expected to release a report as early as Jan. 23, according to Kyodo.
On Jan. 16, the heads and deputy heads of Japan’s two-chamber legislature are due to hold a meeting to discuss how the Diet should deal with possible abdication-related legislation.