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Japan Emperor Abdication Seen as Likely at End of March 2019 (News)

Tokyo, Oct. 20 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government is now likely to set Emperor Akihito's abdication under a special law enacted in June for the end of March 2019, it was learned Friday. The abdication would be followed by Crown Prince Naruhito's accession to the throne and the start of a new Japanese era on April 1, a government source said. The government is working to hold a meeting of …
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Japan’s Emperor and Imperial Family

Japan’s imperial family has a long history, shading back into legend. The emperor today has a ceremonial role and performs numerous functions as a symbol of the state.
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Japanese Prince Hisahito Visits Ogasawara Islands in July (News)

Tokyo, Sept. 6 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prince Hisahito, the only grandson of Emperor Akihito and third in line to the Imperial throne, traveled to the Ogasawara Islands, part of Tokyo, in late July, it was learned Wednesday. The 11-year-old prince in his fifth year at Ochanomizu University Elementary School mourned for people who died in World War II, during the private trip with his mother, Prin…
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Japan Likely to Postpone Decision on Emperor’s Abdication Date (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 28 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government is considering dropping its plan to fix and announce the dates of Emperor Akihito's abdication and the start of a new Japanese era in September, informed sources said Monday. A decision on the schedule is likely to be postponed until later this year, the sources said. The government finds it necessary to initially focus on stabilizing the p…
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Calls for Spring 2019 Emperor Abdication Growing Within Agency (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 11 (Jiji Press)—Since Japan's Emperor Akihito signaled his wish to abdicate a year ago, an increasing number of officials at the Imperial Household Agency have come to believe it best for him to step down in spring 2019. The idea is in contrast to when the calendar changes from 2018 to 2019, an option believed to be considered by the government. Agency officials are concerned tha…
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Landmark Law Allowing Emperor Abdication Enacted in Japan (News)

Tokyo, June 9 (Jiji Press)—Japan's parliament enacted on Friday government-sponsored special legislation to allow Emperor Akihito to step down, paving the way for the first succession from a living emperor in about 200 years in the country. The Emperor and Empress of Japan attend a ceremony in Tokyo on June 6, 2017, honoring people designated as Living National Treasures. (©Jiji) At a plena…
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Laying Down New Roots: Imperial Couple Takes Part in Tree-Planting Ceremony (Japan in Photos)

Emperor Akihito and a local schoolchild team up to settle a young sapling as Empress Michiko watches on at an annual tree-planting ceremony, held this year in Uozu, Toyama Prefecture, on May 28, 2017. Among the trees planted by the imperial couple were the locally developed Tateyama sugi, which produces almost no pollen, and the Koshino fuyuzakura, a variety of cherry. (© Jiji)
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Japan to Announce New Era Name in Summer 2018 (News)

Tokyo, May 18 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government is considering announcing in advance the date for Emperor Akihito's abdication and the new era name in summer 2018, officials said Thursday. Emperor Akihito's abdication and Crown Prince Naruhito's accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne are highly likely to take place in late December 2018, the officials also said. The new era that will follo…
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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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