Japan prepares for Emperor Akihito abdication in April 2019

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the abdication date shortly after a government and royal panel met to discuss the timing.

The 83-year-old emperor had said last year that his age and health would make it difficult to fulfil his duties.

The timing of his abdication, the first in more than two centuries, has been the subject of debate in Japan.-BBC

The 26-member secretariat is headed by Shigetaka Yamasaki, former director general of the Cabinet Affairs Office, who is said to have good knowledge of the imperial system.

The secretariat will be responsible for overseeing the preparation and implementation of a number of rituals, including Emperor Akihito’s abdication ceremony and Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the throne, according to officials.

It will also help set up this autumn a ceremonial committee led by the prime minister to be in charge of crafting ceremonial outlines, and the ceremonial headquarters led by the Chief Cabinet Secretary to coordinate government ministries and agencies.-Xinhuanet

Related image
Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito (R) and Crown Princess Masako wave to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko leaving Tokyo International Airport for Vietnam by a government plane in Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 28, 2017.

Japanese Emperor Akihito indicated his wish to relinquish and hand over the throne to the crown prince in a rare video message in August 2016, citing his age.

Japanese parliament enacted in June last year a law to allow Emperor Akihito to step down and pass his duties over to Crown Prince Naruhito.

The law, designed specially for the current emperor, would allow Emperor Akihito to be the first Japanese emperor to relinquish the throne in two centuries.

The Japanese government approved in March this year an ordinance on holding Emperor Akihito’s abdication ceremony on April 30, 2019.

Crown Prince Naruhito is set to ascend the throne on May 1, 2019.-Xinhuanet



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