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The Abdication Question in Japan and Europe: A ComparisonKimizuka Naotaka

On January 23, a government advisory panel published its interim report on the question of the emperor’s possible abdication. The panel seems to be tilting toward a solution that would limit abdication to the present emperor only. But as lifespans increase, it is likely that the present emperor will not be the last to want to retire. Has the time come for a fundamental reform of Japan’s Imperial Household Law? Professor Kimizuka Naotaka looks at how several European monarchies have dealt with the abdication question in recent years.

Japanese Panel Favors Abdication only for Current Emperor (News)

Tokyo, Jan. 23 (Jiji Press)—A Japanese government advisory panel on Monday indicated that any system for possible imperial abdication in the country applies only to Emperor Akihito. The panel, though not suggesting a specific course of action, highlighted a host of potential problems in an interim report that would arise if a permanent system is created for imperial abdication. The governmen…

Imperial Succession on New Year’s Day “Difficult” (News)

Tokyo, Jan. 17 (Jiji Press)—The succession of the Imperial Throne and a corresponding change of the traditional Japanese era would be difficult to take place on the first day of a year because New Year's Day is crammed with rituals and other events that are performed by the Imperial Family, a senior official of Japan's Imperial Household Agency said Tuesday. There have been a flurry of media r…

Japan Eyes Crown Prince’s Accession to Throne at Start of 2019 (News)

Tokyo, Jan. 11 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government is considering setting the date of Crown Prince Naruhito's accession to the imperial throne and the beginning of a new Japanese era for January 1, 2019, informed sources said Wednesday. The imperial family (from left to right, Crown Prince Naruhito, Emperor Akihito, Crown Princess Masako, and Empress Michiko) gathers on the balcony of the Imp…

9 of 16 Experts Positive about Emperor’s Abdication (News)

Tokyo, Nov. 30 (Jiji Press)--Nine of the 16 summoned experts took positive positions on Japanese Emperor Akihito's possible abdication, in a series of three hearing sessions on the matter a government advisory panel ended on Wednesday. Of the nine experts, four called for establishing a permanent system for Imperial abdication while five sought to enact a special abdication law applicable only…

Over 80% Back Reduction of Emperor’s Official Duties (News)

Tokyo, Nov. 17 (Jiji Press)—Over 80% of Japanese people think that Emperor Akihito's burden of official duties should be reduced, a Jiji Press opinion poll showed Thursday. According to the survey, 70.9% of respondents said the Emperor's public activities should be reduced. In addition, 11.5% said that public activities should be eliminated in principal and that his duties should be limited to …

Three Experts Oppose Emperor’s Possible Abdication, Two Others in Favor (News)

Tokyo, Nov. 14 (Jiji Press)—Three of six experts at a government panel meeting on Monday expressed their opposition to Japanese Emperor Akihito's possible abdication. At the second hearing by the panel, one of the three remaining experts indicated a cautious view on allowing the Emperor to step down while the two others supported abdication. At the first hearing, held last week, two conserv…

Emperor Should Have Right to RetireTase Yasuhiro

In a video message that was broadcast across Japan, Emperor Akihito expressed a desire to abdicate in favor of his son Crown Prince Naruhito. I have watched that video message many times, and also read through the transcript. Over the nearly half century I have spent as a political journalist, I have heard many addresses delivered by leaders, but I had never heard a message delivered so succinct…

Abdication and the Japanese Emperor as a Pacifist SymbolIwai Katsumi

Following Emperor Akihito’s expressed desire to abdicate, long-time royal watcher Iwai Katsumi examines the emperor’s role as a symbol of a pacifist country.

Abdication: The Emperor’s Wish and Prospects for Its RealizationTokoro Isao

It has recently been reported that Emperor Akihito, now 82, wishes to abdicate within the next few years. The government is expected to soon start seriously deliberating this issue with a view to realizing the emperor’s wish.

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