• Staff Report


Emperor Akihito, who is said to have indicated his wish to abdicate, will have a chance to speak about his thoughts to the Japanese people sometime next month, NHK reported Friday.

Sources said the Imperial Household Agency is planning to broadcast a live message by the Emperor around Aug. 8, after the scheduled extraordinary Diet session and a Cabinet reshuffle take place, according to the report.

The Emperor is expected to speak for about 10 minutes at the Shakkyo no Ma drawing room in the Imperial Palace, possibly with the attendance of reporters, the report said.

Although the 82-year-old Emperor continues to engage in numerous official duties, media reported earlier this month that he told people close to him that he intends to abdicate the throne to Crown Prince Naruhito within a few years.

Because the Constitution strictly prohibits the Emperor from engaging in any political activities, he is unlikely to mention the term abdication or directly express his intentions. But his remarks are expected to reflect his belief that someone who can fulfill the duties as the symbol of the state should take the position, it said.

The Emperor issued a recorded message to the Japanese people after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, but the coming appearance will be the first time for him to make an address to the nation on live TV.

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