The government of Japan has officially approved the abdication ceremony of Emperor Akihito, it was announced yesterday. This provides the legal basis to allow him to step down from the throne after a one-off law was passed to allow him to retire.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press conference, “As there are a variety of things we need to prepare toward the imperial succession, we will do our best so that the Emperor’s abdication and the Crown Prince’s accession will be carried out smoothly.”
The abdication ceremony of Akihito in April 2019 will be a state occasion. The Japanese government made the announcement on Tuesday, 20 February.
Suga headed the panel which decided to also have a ceremony at the National Theater in Tokyo that celebrates 30 years of His Imperial Majesty’s reign on 24 February 2019, reported the Japan Times. This will be the first Japanese occasion of this sort in some 200 years.
The basic plan regarding the abdication and enthronement ceremonies, as well as events surrounding them, are due to be decided by the middle of this month.
Emperor Akihito will abdicate at the Imperial Palace on 30 April 2019 with his oldest child, Crown Prince Naruhito ascending to the throne the next day, 1 May 2019. Akihito will give a final address to the Japanese people during the abdication ceremony which reportedly will only include close to 300 people. Sources have indicated that the name for the new era after the Crown Prince ascends to the Chrysanthemum Throne may not be released until the end of this year or even later.
At the end of May 2017, Japan’s National Diet, the country’s bicameral legislature, passed a law to allow 84-year-old Emperor to abdicate. His Imperial Majesty will be the first monarch in Japan to abdicate for nearly 200 years.