Some 600,000 criminals to be amnestied on the occasion of imperial enthronement

People convicted and fined for minor infractions that took place at least three years ago will benefit from the pardon. Their civil rights will be restored and they will be able to apply for professional licenses. In 1989, over 10 million people were pardoned when Emperor Hirohito died.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Japanese government has decided to amnesty nearly 600,000 petty criminals on the occasion of the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito (pictured) on 22 October, local media have reported today citing government sources.

The plan, which the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will formally approve in mid-October, is expected to apply to those convicted and fined for minor infractions that took place at least three years ago.

The amnesty should also reverse a temporary ban on violators qualifying for national professional licenses and will restore their civil rights. In Japan, people convicted and fined are banned from obtaining physicians', nurses' and some other licenses for five years.

Given that the pardons are expected to be granted regardless of criminal charges, election law violators are also likely to have their civil rights restored. Separately, the government is expected to grant special individual pardons to certain people fined for minor infractions.

More than 10 million people were amnestied and had their civil rights restored in 1989 to mark the death of Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, while about 2.5 million people were pardoned in 1990 to celebrate Emperor Akihito’s enthronement.

Like his father, the new emperor will also meet a pontiff. Thirty-eight years after John Paul II's visit, Pope Francis will be in Japan from 23 to 26 November.

Emperor Naruhito will receive the Holy Father privately on the 25th, following a meeting between Francis and victims of the triple disaster, as the Fukushima nuclear accident is called in Japan.