Japan to release interim report on emperor's abdication

Wednesday, 11 January, 2017 - 16:15

An interim report regarding the potential abdication of the 83-year-old Japanese Emperor Akihito will be released later this month, a government panel said on Wednesday.

The advisory panel, established last September following a video message by the emperor hinting his wish to abdicate and hand over the throne to his 56-year-old son Crown Prince Naruhito, has been examining the issue by weighing the pros and cons, hearing opinions from experts, and studying ways to alleviate burden on the emperor.

The six-member panel, led by Takashi Imai, honorary chairman of the Japan Business Federation, plans to release the interim report on Jan. 23 before submitting a final proposal in spring.

If the emperor abdicates, the Imperial House Law might need revision, as the law, enacted in 1947 to rule for imperial affairs, does not include any provision for a reigning emperor to abdicate.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prefers enacting special legislation applying only to the current emperor to creat a permanent system by revising the Imperial House Law, according to the Kyodo News.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the panel is focusing on discussing how to alleviate the emperor's burden and no direction has been decided yet.