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FOCUS: State Funding for Daijosai Rite Draws Criticism from Experts

FOCUS: State Funding for Daijosai Rite Draws Criticism from Experts

   Tokyo, Nov. 15 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government's decision to finance the latest "Daijosai" key Imperial ceremony with state funds, as it did for the previous such event, has faced criticism from experts claiming the move was taken with undue speed in order to avoid reigniting controversy over the Constitution, which guarantees the separation of state and religion.
   The key grand thanksgiving ceremony was conducted by Emperor Naruhito, who took the throne in May after the abdication of his father, current Emperor Emeritus Akihito, in April, from Thursday evening to the small hours of Friday.
   In the centuries-old ceremony, the Emperor offers newly harvested grains to the deities to pray for good crops and peace in the country.
   The Daijosai is an event held only once after the enthronement of an Emperor. It is "an extremely important once-in-a-lifetime ceremony related to Imperial succession," an Imperial Household Agency official said.
   As with the previous Daijosai, conducted by then Emperor Akihito in 1990, the government covered the related costs of the latest ceremony with state funds, while characterizing the Daijosai as an Imperial Family event, unlike other enthronement-related ceremonies stipulated as acts of the Emperor in matters of state under the Constitution, due to the rite's strong religious nature.

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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