Japan approves law enabling Emperor Akihito to abdicate

The bill, which will make it possible to circumvent the imperial law that currently prevents the Emperor from abdicating, was approved during a cabinet meeting.

Published: 19th May 2017 08:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th May 2017 08:51 AM   |  A+A-

Japan's Emperor Akihito waving to well-wishers during his new year speech in Tokyo on January 2. (Photo | AFP)

Japan's Emperor Akihito. (File | AFP)

By IANS

TOKYO: Japan on Friday approved a bill that will allow Emperor Akihito to hand over the Chrysanthemum throne to his heir, Naruhito.

The bill, which will make it possible to circumvent the imperial law that currently prevents the Emperor from abdicating, was approved during a cabinet meeting, Efe news reported.

If approved, this will be the first abdication of a Japanese emperor in 200 years, when Emperor Kokaku stepped down in 1817.

The law will be sent to parliament later in the day, where the government hopes it will be approved without further obstruction by mid-June.

The government believes that the ideal moment for the abdication is in December 2018, when the Emperor turns 85 and completes three decades as head of state.

The bill has been designed specifically for Akihito in order to prevent future abdications, given the problems facing the imperial family regarding its succession line.

These problems have recently been highlighted when Akihito's granddaughter, Princess Mako, 25, announced three days ago that she plans to marry her college friend, which will result in the princess losing her royal status.

In addition to prohibiting abdication, the 1947 imperial law does not recognize the so-called collateral institutional branches, making female members of the royal family lose their royal status when marrying a commoner, which has since substantially reduced the number of members of the Japanese royal family.

With Mako leaving the palace, the Japanese royal family, the world's oldest reigning hereditary dynasty, will be left with 18 members.

Among those 18, only three, apart from Akihito, are male with access to the throne: Crown Prince Naruhito, 57; his brother Akishino, 51, and his son Hisahito, 10, who is also Princess Mako's younger brother.

Although abdication has been common throughout the history of the Chrysanthemum Throne and women were, in the past, eligible for the throne (the last one in the 18th century), the 1947 law allows only men to occupy the throne.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.