The Question of Imperial Abdication

The Diet is expected to pass a special one-time law allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate now that the ruling coalition and opposition parties have reached agreement on the sensitive issue. In this series we look at different aspects of the abdication question, including how lawmakers and other have approached the emperor’s desire to step down and historical paths for succession.

The Historical Background of How Japan Chooses Its Era NamesKawashima Shin

Japan counts years using a system of era names. The current era is Heisei, which began when Emperor Akihito succeeded his father in 1989. A new era will begin when his heir takes the throne. This article explains the historical background of the system and the procedures by which it is now implemented.
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The Compromise and Contradictions in Emperor Akihito’s Abdication LegislationKasahara Hidehiko

Leaders of both houses of the Japanese Diet have presented Prime Minister Abe Shinzō with their recommendations regarding Emperor Akihito’s abdication. However, their proposal to create one-off legislation for an exceptional case contradicts their further assertion that it will also provide a precedent for future cases.
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Inside the Imperial Abdication Panel: A Legal and Political Balancing Act

In the wake of a rare televised address in which Emperor Akihito obliquely conveyed a desire to step down, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō formed a six-member advisory panel to hammer out a legislative solution, given the lack of provision for abdication under current Japanese law. In this exclusive interview, Mikuriya Takashi, the panel’s acting chair, sheds light on the process that culminated in a recommendation for ad hoc legislation permitting abdication on this occasion only.
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