Tokyo, Sep 5 (IANS) Japan is planning to introduce special legislation that will apply only to Emperor Akihito’s abdication and not amend the law which does not allow a king to step down before his death.
Amending the current law is complicated and might delay the Emperor’s wish to abdicate, Efe news reported.
Inviting a debate on amending the law right now would also delay the abdication process, officials said.
Japan’s Imperial Household Law, which was enacted in 1947, only allows posthumous succession.
In a televised address to the nation on August 8, Emperor Akihito expressed his desire to abdicate due to advanced age and failing health.
The Japanese public had viewed the legislative process, started to ease the abdication in favour of Crown Prince Naruhito, as an opportunity to reopen the debate on other possible changes, including allowing women to succeed to the Chrysanthemum throne.
This issue had been the subject of much debate after the birth of Naruhito’s only sibling, Princess Aiko, 14, but had ultimately died down.
If it goes through, Akihito’s abdication would be the first since 1817, when Emperor Kokaku stepped down from the throne.
However, abdication has been a common practice in the world’s oldest monarchy as almost half the monarchs till date have abdicated the throne while still alive.