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The Imperial Household Agency is considering changing the Imperial burial system, possibly interring emperors and empresses together, sources said Thursday.

Emperors and empresses are traditionally buried in mausoleums. During the last several years, the agency has been discussing the appropriateness of building large tombs for emperors and empresses, the sources said. The focus of discussions is how to change the burial rite so it could pass on the Imperial traditions while conforming to the monarch’s constitutional status as “the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people,” according to the sources.

Several Imperial couples were buried together before the Meiji Era, which lasted from 1868 to 1912, during which the modern Imperial institution was established, but no couples have buried together since.

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