24 May 2017
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  • » 05/19/2017, 10.07


    Government approves law for the abdication of Emperor Akihito

    The law can only be used for this emperor. In all probability it will be approved by parliament by the end of June. Naruhito's new era is expected to begin with 2019. The imperial family has few members and few male children.     

    Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The Japanese government today approved a special ad-personam law that will allow Emperor Akihito to abdicate the Chrysanthemum throne.

    Akihito, 83, is the first emperor to abdicate in almost 200 years. The last one was Emperor Kokaku in 1817.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today signed the law that will now be sent to the Parliament (the Diet) for a final debate and endorsement, expected by the end of June. The law is specific to Akihito and cannot be used in the future for other situations.

    Akihito, who suffered a heart attack and prostate cancer, rose to the throne at the death of his father, Hirohito, in 1989 and is loved and revered by the population.

    Last August, in a speech to the nation, he had confessed to feeling tired and to be reflecting on the "role and duties of the emperor in the days to come." Since Japanese law did not envision abdication, politicians had to embark on a law to make it possible.

    In Japan the emperor's status is of high value. Considered a god until the Second World War and the defeat of the country, the Emperor was forced by the Allies to proclaim his "humanity", while remaining the symbol of the nation.

    In a friendly style, Akihito tried to heal the wounds left by the war at home and abroad and tried to bring the imperial family closer to the Japanese people. His visit to some displaced by Fukushima, after the tsunami and the resulting nuclear disaster, remains famous (see photo 3).

    The government expects Akihito to abdicate by December 2018, passing the scepter to Prince Naruhito, who will be 57 in February 2019. By 2019, when the Chrysanthemum era ("Gengo") will have ended, a new era will begin.

    The law provides that with the end of the Chrysanthemum Throne, Akihito be called "jokor", a title that in the past was given to an emperor who had abdicated. Empress Michiko will be called "jokogo," or "wife of joko." Akihito’s funeral ceremonies will be equivalent to those of other emperors.

    The law, however, does not address other issues affecting the imperial household: the shortage of male children (see photo 2) - and hence the possibility of opening the hereditary line to women - and the possibility of staying inside the family for those who marry a non-noble person, to help further reducing the number of members. This last problem resurfaced this week with the news of Princess Mako's engagement to a young lawyer Kei Komuro. By marrying him, Mako will renounce her role and membership of the imperial family.

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    See also

    08/08/2016 12:53:00 JAPAN
    Tokyo, Emperor ready to abdicate: Increasingly difficult to perform my duties

    Akihito speaks on state television, never utters the word "resignation" but says: "I am old and my tasks are heavy, I fear not being able to fulfill them well”. The population supports him, but lawyers believe it would be "dangerous" to leave Chrysanthemum throne vacant.

    24/01/2017 13:12:00 JAPAN
    Towards a special law to allow the Emperor to abdicate

    The last abdication in the history of the country took place over 200 years ago. The emperor's desire and the lack of legislation on the subject. The indications of the commission established to deliberate. More than 90% of Japanese favors the Emperor’s wish. 2018-2019 may mark a new era for the Chrysanthemum Throne.


    14/07/2016 10:04:00 JAPAN
    Emperor wants to abdicate but "has no health problems"

    The Chrysanthemum Throne is the oldest monastic dynasty in the world. The current ruler, 82, reportedly wants to abdicate. Experts point out this will mean a change in the law of imperial succession. Akihito is the first Japanese monarch without "divine prerogatives", renounced by his father Hirohito after the surrender of Japan in 1945.


    03/02/2014 JAPAN
    Tokyo, for the first time in history, the Imperial Palace opens to visitors
    The structure, built on the ruins of Edo Castle , covers an area of 1.15 million square meters and has never been open to the public . The decision was made to celebrate the 80th birthday of Emperor Akihito, but according to some analysts, aims to revive the imperial figure ahead of succession.

    16/02/2006 JAPAN
    Political struggle behind rumours over royal succession
    Strong-willed and a non traditional wife, Princess Masako has run up against Conservative opposition. Princess Kiko's pregnancy stops in their tracks Koizumi's plans to change succession rules to let women ascend to the throne.

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