May 19, 2017
Tokyo- The Japanese government adopted at a cabinet meeting on Friday special legislation to enable the first Imperial abdication in about 200 years.Article 1 of the legislation says the Japanese people share Emperor Akihito's concerns about future difficulties per- forming his duties due to his advancing age.
The legislation would apply to only the 83-year- old current Emperor.The bill calls for giving the Emperor the title "joko" and Empress Michiko the title of "jokogo" after the Emperor's ab- dication. Joko was used in the past for retired Emperors, while jokogo, which refers to the spouse of joko, has never been used.
The government is considering, as a main option, setting December 2018 for the Emperor's abdication and Crown Prince Naruhito's accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Emperor Akihito would be the first Japanese Emperor to step down while alive in about 200 years, since Emperor Ko- kaku abdicated in 1817. This will also mark the first abdica- tion since the 1868-1912 Meiji period, during which the status of Emperor was established as a lifetime position.
The legislation's is expected to be enacted during the current regular session of the Diet, Japan's parliament, be- cause it is supported by the ruling pair of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito and the largest opposition Democratic Party.
Attention is being paid to whether a proposed supple- mentary resolution will call for, as sought by the DP, allowing female members of the Imperial Family to form branches of the family after marriage as a measure to prevent the Impe- rial membership from declining.The Imperial House Law stipulates that female members of the family lose their status when they marry outside the family.The special law will consist of five main articles and 11 supplementary clauses.
The bill was drafted after Emperor Akihito expressed his strong wish to step down due to his old age in a video message in August last year.
The bill also calls for adding an annex clause to the Imperial House Law states the special legislation is consistent with the Imperial code.
The legislation's Article 1 says Emperor Akihito is deeply concerned that his advancing age will make it difficult for him to continue performing his duties. Noting that the people of the country understand and have sympathy with the Emperor's thoughts, the article says his abdication should be allowed as an exception to the Imperial House Law, which limits Imperial succession to when a sitting Emperor passes away.
The legislation also stipulates that Emperor Akihito's abdication and Crown Prince Naruhito's accession to the throne will take place on the day it is enforced. (Jiji Press)
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