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FOCUS: Concerns Need to Be Cleared for Emperor Abdication

FOCUS: Concerns Need to Be Cleared for Emperor Abdication

   Tokyo, July 30 (Jiji Press)--In past parliamentary discussions, the Japanese government has maintained a cautious attitude toward making legislative changes that would allow the Emperor to abdicate, citing concerns including over the possible negative influence of a retired Emperor.
   The government plans to tread carefully in exploring ways to reduce the burdens on Emperor Akihito, 82, who informed sources said has privately expressed hopes of handing over the throne to his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, in the next few years, while working to ensure consistency with the official position on the complicated issue, officials said.
   Emperor Akihito acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne in January 1989 following the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, who is known posthumously as Emperor Showa.
   Under Japan's current Imperial House Law, which governs the status of the Emperor, the Imperial Family member who is first in the line of succession immediately assumes the throne after the demise of the Emperor. There is no legal mechanism for abdication.
   Abdication was not unusual in the Imperial lineage, which is said to date back to 2,600 years ago, but no succession from a living Emperor has taken place for about 200 years.

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