• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering releasing some comments after Emperor Akihito’s widely expected video message Monday, as speculation grows about his potential abdication, sources close to the plan said.

The comments, most likely to take the form of a statement, will reflect Abe’s personal feelings about the Emperor’s thoughts and will not have Cabinet approval, they said Thursday. The Imperial Household Agency announced on Friday that the Emperor will deliver a video message on Monday.

In a two-day telephone survey from Wednesday to Thursday, 85.7 percent of respondents said they would accept the Emperor’s abdication, 10.8 percent said they favored the status quo and 3.5 percent said they did not know or gave no answer.

Asked whether the Emperor has too many official duties, 89.5 percent agreed, 6.1 percent disagreed and 4.4 percent said they did not know or gave no answer.

The survey covered 1,430 randomly selected households with eligible voters nationwide and drew valid responses from 1,008 people.

In addition to TV and radio, the Emperor’s video will be made available on the agency’s website together with the full Japanese text and an English translation, as the Emperor has been keen to deliver messages to people overseas as well, they said.

It will be the Emperor’s second video message after the one he released five days after the mega-quake and tsunami in Tohoku on March 11, 2011, which was also accompanied by a Japanese transcript and English translation.

His other public speeches and remarks have been similarly translated into English and released by the agency.

While the Emperor is unlikely to refer directly to abdication, he is expected to share his view about fulfilling his official duties in the future. The last emperor to abdicate was Emperor Kokaku in 1817.

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