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Japanese government does not plan to have female members of Imperial Family attend key enthronement ceremony

The Japanese government does not have any plans to have female members of the Japanese Imperial Family at a key enthronement ceremony, Kenji to Shokei no Gi, according to sources at the Japan Times. This is one of several ceremonies that will mark the ascension of Crown Prince Naruhito as Emperor of Japan on 1 May 2019. Emperor Akihito will abdicate on 30 April 2019.

The government intends to follow the exact ceremony held when Akihito was enthroned as Emperor of Japan on 7 January 1989 after the death of his father, Emperor Shōwa. At that ceremony, only male members of the Imperial Family were in attendance; it was also performed as a state act for the first time. Aside from the male members of the Japanese Imperial Family, those in attendance included Japan’s Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, representatives from the Diet (Japanese national assembly) and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

A female has not attended the Kenji to Shokei no Gi since 1889 when the Imperial House code ” first stipulated that the succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne is limited to male offspring in the paternal line of the Imperial lineage,” according to the Japan Times.

Experts reportedly told the government that it would be a good idea to include underage members, including females, of the Imperial Family at the events. However, the government elected to err on the side of caution and took conservative opinions, wanting to hold on to and respect traditions, into account when deciding to not allow females.

This aforementioned ceremony involves the handing down of the Sacred Sword, Curved Jewels of the Imperial regalia, the Privy Seal and the State Seal to the new emperor.

In a press conference this past Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told the media that the government would follow the example of the ceremonies held in 1989 for Akihito when making decisions for next year’s abdication and enthronement.

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