18:15 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Japan's Emperor Akihito's waves to well-wishers who gathered at the Imperial Palace to mark his 82nd birthday in Tokyo, Japan

    Japan’s Panel of Experts Launches Discussions on Emperor’s Possible Abdication

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    A panel of experts set up by the Japanese government held on Monday its first meeting to discuss the potential abdication of Emperor Akihito, local media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to The Japan Times, at the beginning of the panel's first session Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked the experts to discuss how emperor's public duties could be reduced without any political rows over succession.

    It is expected that the panel consisting of five academics and a business organization executive would study Emperor Akihito's abdication wish, interview a number of experts on the constitution, monarchy and history, and then present a report early next year.

    The 82-year-old emperor hinted at his readiness to renounce the throne in a rare video message to the public in August, expressing his concern to become unable to fulfill official duties due to his age. Abdication is not stipulated by the Imperial Household Act of 1947, under which the throne passes on only after the death of an emperor.

    Should Emperor Akihito be allowed to abdicate, it would be a landmark change to the Japan’s political system. At the same time, the abdication procedure would involve settling various legal and logistical questions, such as changing the emperor's post-abdication role, his title and residence.

    Media reported that the Japanese government considered making an exception to the state’s law, and passing special legislation for Akihito's abdication.

    According to polls, about 80 percent of Japanese population supports the idea of emperor's abdication.

    Akihito ascended to the Japanese throne in 1989 after Emperor Hirohito's death. According to the Japanese Constitution, emperor has a merely ceremonial role, being a symbol of the nation and of national unity. Akihito has two sons — Crown Prince Naruhito and Akishino — who are first and second in line to become Japan's emperor under male-only succession system.


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