Japan panel agrees on April 30, 2019 for emperor's abdication

02 December, 2017, 01:05 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Japanese-emperor-Akihito-worked-to-console-the-people

Japan's octogenarian Emperor Akihito will cede the throne on April 30, 2019, with Crown Prince Naruhito succeeding him the following day, the prime minister said Friday.

Japan's Emperor Akihito is set to step down in April 2017, having announced past year that age and failing health might make it hard for him to fulfil his duties.

Some experts, recalling past examples when ex-emperors kept their influence, had feared the former monarch's existence would undercut the symbolic status of his heir, Crown Prince Naruhito. The 10-member Imperial Household Council includes lawmakers, royals and supreme court justices and the government was required by law to hear its views before formally deciding the date.

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Japan's constitution defines the emperor as a symbol of the state and the people, without political power.

Japan's top government spokesperson, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference that the emperor's abdication date will be reported to the Cabinet on December 5. The era of the reign of the new Emperor would start on 1 may.

The Imperial House Council is a national deliberative body summoned to discuss important issues concerning the imperial family, such as marriage of male family members and the loss of imperial status. Later in the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is expected to give a briefing at a press conference on discussions during the closed-door session.

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Akihito was 56-years-old when he ascended the throne following the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito.

"This is the first abdication by an emperor in 200 years and the first under the (post-war) constitution", Abe told reporters after announcing the panel's recommendation.

Emperor Akihito is presently undergoing a prostrate cancer treatment.

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