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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, September 24, 2017

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Emperor without qualms: Japanese monarch expresses desire to abdicate

He may appoint Crown Prince Naruhito

Share on Facebook August 8, 2016, Reporter : Big News Network, Reader : 434

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TOKYO, Japan - Japan's Emperor Akihito made a rare televised appearance and addressed the public expressing his desire to “abdicate his responsibilities.”> Big News Network

“When I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the State with my whole being as I have done until now," he said, as citizens stopped to watched his address on big outdoor screens.

The Emperor informed the public that he may appoint Crown Prince Naruhito, his son as the regent in case he falls seriously ill or is incapacitated.

“Considering the emperor’s duties, as well as his age and the burden (of the job), we have to firmly look at what we can do,” remarked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shortly after the speech.

Surveys undertaken reveal that citizens support the Emperor’s decision with 77 and 90 percent saying the government should create a system to allow the emperor to abdicate.

Currently, under the imperial law, the ruler must carry out his responsibilities till death. If the monarch is to be relieved of his duties, Japan will have to bring an amendment to the existing law. The law however, does allow the ruler to appoint a regent when faced with a serious sickness or incapacitation.

According to the Imperial Household Agency, the Emperor and Empress have kept up with a gruelling schedule of attending 250 public meetings and making 75 trips within and outside of Japan, annually.

The crown prince Naruhito will now take over responsibility for at least 100 of the meetings, reports stated.

The 125th Emperor of Japan will celebrate his 83rd birthday in December. Akihito’s health has been on the decline after facing heart problems and undergoing treatment for cancer.  

Akihito’s televised address is the third public address that any Japanese monarch has made. However, speculations about the Emperor’s announcement have been doing the rounds since last month.

The first public address was made by Emperor Hirohito who announced Japan’s loss in WWII to the public over the radio. In 2011, in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Akihito, had addressed the nation through television.

Japanese Monarchs enjoyed the status of “living gods” till after the WWII when their powers were limited to a ceremonial post.

Following the war, the royal family was also robbed of its wealth by occupiers. Today the family’s annual budget and allowances amount to $100 million and is under the control of the Parliament.

Though emperors have not quit in 200 years, there have been many who have requested to be abdicated while alive.

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