Japan's cabinet approves Emperor Akihito abdication bill

Japan's government has approved a one-off bill which if passed will allow Emperor Akihito to abdicate. AGENCIES

Once regarded divine power, the oldest monarchy of Japan will undergo another major change with the passage of a bill by the government to let the current aged Emperor Akihito to abdicate the throne for his Oxford-educated son and Crown Prince Naruhito.

This will be the first time a monarch has done so in Japan in two centuries.

The government believes that it is the ideal moment for the abdication as the Emperor turns 85 and completes three decades as head of state.

The bill has been designed specifically for Akihito in order to prevent future abdications, given the problems facing the imperial family regarding its succession line.

The last time an emperor stepped down was in 1817.

Princess Mako, elder daughter of Prince Akishino, is to be engaged, and under current law she will lose her status once married. However, under Japanese law, he is expected to serve until his death.

Akihito, who had cancer surgery in 2003 and a heart bypass operation in 2012, admitted that his age was affecting his ability to perform his public role.

The Japanese public overwhelmingly supports allowing emperors to retire, according to Kyodo, but conservative supporters of Abe's Liberal Democratic Party want to avoid making permanent changes to the laws that govern succession.

The bill will be submitted to the Diet (Japan's parliament) later on Friday, with the government expecting it to come into effect by the end of the current Diet session in mid-June.

Other ideas floated include allowing female members to retain royal status upon marriage, meaning their male children would be eligible.

Japanese Emperor Akihito attends a martial art competition celebrating the 130 years of anniversary of the foundation of the Imperial Guard in Tokyo, Japan, January 19, 2017. Princess Mako's brother, 10-year-old Hisahito, is the fourth heir to the throne and the only boy in his generation.

The post Japan cabinet approves bill allowing emperor's abdication appeared first on The Independent Uganda:.

She is due to marry a commoner and in doing so will become one herself.

Japan's emperors are said to be direct descendants of Amaterasu, the Shinto goddess of the sun, and are revered here.

The bill was crafted after parties represented in the Diet agreed to allow the emperor's abdication under a one-off law and a government-commissioned panel endorsed the policy, both of which were decided through closed-door discussions, raising criticism in some corners that it was a foregone conclusion.

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