Japan’s Emperor May Abdicate Throne – A First Since 1817

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Japan’s Emperor May Abdicate Throne – A First Since 1817 PHOTOGRAPH: Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis/Wikimedia Commons | Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko greeted dignitaries at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu City, Hawaii State on July 15, 2009.

Japan’s octogenarian Emperor Akihito might retire from his position. This is something that has not taken place over the past two centuries. The country is planning to create a new law allowing the abdication.

Japan: Emperor Akihito to Retire

Amidst all these, serious issues such as Akihito’s title and duties are completely undecided. These issues will be sorted before the Emperor could retire. This entire step is still murky as the nation’s law does not currently allow an Emperor to leave his throne.

However, Akihito is 83 years old. He had gone through heart surgery and prostate cancer treatment. Moreover, last August, he stated in public that he is scared that his age will make him incapable of fulfilling his duties.

On Monday, reports revealed that a group of experts are pondering a new law to allow Emperor Akihito to retire. The retirement might take place, in all probability, by the end of 2018. Government officials are trying to find ancient precedents, as the last time an emperor abdicated was in 1817, said Reuters.

The Japanese Emperor might also look out for instances of foreign monarchs of his generation. These might include the Dutch Queen Beatrix, Belgian King Albert II, or even Pope Benedict. All of them retired in 2013.

Decision on the Emperor’s title, duties and residence after he retires are still unknown. Moreover, the name and date for the beginning of the new “imperial era,” will also be decided. It was also stated that the Japanese emperor (Tenno) is the “symbol of the state and and the unity of the people,” in the post-war constitution. No political power rested in the hands of the emperor.

Japan: Experts’ Duties

The panel of experts have to look for instances of abdication in ancient history. History stated that Emperor Akihito should get the title Joko, or retired emperor. The present era is called Heisei, or Achieving Peace, which started on January 8, 1989.

On this day, Emperor Akihito succeeded the throne after the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito. According to Straits Times, the nation uses the Gregorian calendar now. However, the country is still keeping its ancient Nengo system.

Experts stated that post-retirement residence options for Emperor Akihito include the Togu Palace, present home to the Crown Prince, and the Fukiage Omiya Palace, where Emperor Hirohito had lived once. These two residences were both located within the Tokyo palace grounds. Furthermore, experts also stated that the ancient capital of Kyoto is also being considered.

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