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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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Princess Mako’s Informal Engagement Announced (News)

Tokyo, Sept. 3 (Jiji Press)—Japan's Imperial Household Agency announced on Sunday the informal engagement of Princess Mako, the first grandchild of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, to former university classmate and commoner Komuro Kei. Princess Mako and Komuro Kei at a press conference in Tokyo on September 3, 2017. (© Jiji) Yamamoto Shin’ichirō, grand steward of the agency, made the a…
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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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Announcement of Princess Mako’s Informal Engagement Put Off (News)

Tokyo, July 7 (Jiji Press)—Japan's Imperial Household Agency said Friday it has decided to postpone the announcement of Princess Mako's informal engagement to former university classmate Komuro Kei and other related events scheduled for Saturday, in view of serious damage caused by heavy rain in the northern part of the Kyūshū region of southwestern Japan. The 25-year-old princess, the eldest o…
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Princess Mako and the Future of the Imperial HouseholdNagai Takako

Word of Princess Mako’s impending engagement, followed by news of her successful trip to Bhutan, came like a breath of fresh air at a time when Emperor Akihito’s wish to abdicate has dominated media coverage of the imperial family. At the same time, the princess's transition embodies the quandary facing the shrinking imperial household, which loses a precious member each time a woman marries out of the family.
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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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Summer Eyed for Announcing Princess Mako’s Informal Engagement (News)

Tokyo, May 25 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Imperial Household Agency is considering moving up the announcement of the informal engagement of Princess Mako, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, to a former university classmate by several months from the initially envisioned autumn this year, Yamamoto Shin'ichirō, head of the agency, said Thursday. The announcement is expected to be m…
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