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  HOME | Society (Click here for more)

Japanese Emperor Plans to Deliver Speech on his Abdication in August

TOKYO - Japanese Emperor Akihito plans to deliver a televised speech in August on his desire to abdicate in favor of his son Naruhito due to his advanced age and health status, according to local public broadcaster NHK.

NHK, citing sources from the Imperial Household Agency, already reported on Jul. 13 that Akihito, 82, intends to pass on the Chrysanthemum Throne to his son, 56, "in the coming years," because he feels increasingly tired.

The speech is planned to take place around Aug. 8 after an extraordinary session of the Diet, the Japanese Parliament, and a cabinet reshuffle scheduled on Aug. 3, NHK added.

The Emperor is anticipated to deliver a speech aired live for about 10 minutes.

Since the current Constitution does not include provisions for living succession, the Emperor would avoid speaking of his abdication directly and announce his intention to the Japanese public using other words.

The monarch has only appeared on television to address the nation once, that was on Mar.16, 2011, following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country's northeast and triggered the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

On that occasion, Akihito's speech, calling it the worst tragedy to hit Japan since World War II, was recorded before transmission.

The Japanese Emperor's health has deteriorated as he underwent a coronary bypass operation in 2012 and also suffered from prostate cancer in 2003 after receiving hormonal therapy to treat osteoporosis.

Because of his age and health issues, Japanese public opinion has in recent years favored the possibility of reducing the workload of Akihito who has already delegated some of his official duties to his son Naruhito.

The current Succession Act in Japan does not include the assumption of abdication, so a review to specify that the position goes to Naruhito after the resignation of his father would be necessary.

 

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