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.
Emperor Akihito, who signaled his wish for abdication in a video message last August, would step down on December 31, 2018, closing the current Heisei era of his reign at its thirtieth year.
The government considers it desirable to start the new era at the same time as a new calendar year to minimize the impact of the era change on people's daily lives, the sources said.
Within the government, the end of 2018 has been widely regarded as a possible date for the 83-year-old Emperor's abdication since he, in the closely watched video released on August 8 last year, noted that the Heisei era will reach its thirtieth year in 2018.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide said the government is "not considering at all" the timing of imperial succession at the moment.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]