Japan: Emperor Akihito’s abdication bill approved by Shinzo Abe govt, first in 200 years

Emperor Akihito abdication: The move comes almost a year after Emperor Akihito made a rare public television address

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 19, 2017 8:22:41 am
japan, japan thailand, thailand, Akihito, japan Akihito, Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Bhumibol Adulyadej death, Japanese Emperor Akihito, Emperor Akihito in thailand, latest news, latest world news Japan’s Emperor Akihito waves to well-wishers as he and family members appear on the balcony of the Imperial Palace during the emperor’s birthday in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File 2014)

In a historic move, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday approved a bill allowing Emperor Akihito to abdicate the Chrysanthemum throne and hand over duties to Crown Prince Naruhito. The announcement was made by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. The move is likely to be implemented in December 2018, when Emperor Akihito turns 85. This is the first time in about 200 years that Japan will see such a shift.

The move comes almost a year after Emperor Akihito made a rare public television address to the nation wherein he spoke about his advancing age and health, perhaps suggesting that he wanted to step down from duties. As there is no current legislation that allows the stepping down of an Emperor, this bill will now have to be presented in Parliament where it is largely expected to be approved.

The country’s era name – Gengo – will also have to be changed as the nation gets a new emperor.

The bill has been specifically drafted to ensure it is used only for the current emperor and to disallow future emperors from following it.  Currently, only posthumous succession is allowed under the Imperial House Law.

According to Japanese news reports, the bill states the public’s “understanding” and “sympathy” for the ageing emperor’s “deep concern” about becoming unable to fulfill his duties eventually as a reason to set up the special-case abdication law.

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