Japan to introduce extraordinary emperor abdication provison to its constitutional framework

By Nikkei, 20 March
Emperor Akihito (Photo credit: AP)
Emperor Akihito (Photo credit: AP)

Japan's parliament officially recommended Friday that legislation be passed allowing Emperor Akihito to step down as a one-time exception to Imperial House Law, after ruling and opposition parties reached an accord.

The top two leaders from each Diet chamber presented the recommendation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after meeting with representatives from eight parties and two parliamentary factions to seek their endorsement. All except for the small Liberal Party offered their support.

"I solemnly accept the will of the legislature and hope to get to work immediately on passing legislation," Abe said. The government aims to submit a bill to the Diet around the time of the Golden Week holidays starting late next month.

The Democratic Party and others previously argued that a one-off law could violate the constitution, which stipulates that succession be handled "in accordance with the Imperial House Law." To address these concerns, the Diet recommended adding a provision to the Imperial House Law stating that the new legislation will be considered part of it.

In another compromise with the opposition, which had sought permanent revision of the Imperial House Law to permit abdication, the draft states that the legislation can be used as precedent should another emperor wish to step down in the future.

A government-appointed panel on abdication will resume deliberating Wednesday. The government will lean toward one-off legislation in light of the Diet's recommendation, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.



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