• Kyodo


The abdication advisory panel is expected to compile its final proposal in late April, about a month later than planned, because reconciling the views of ruling and opposition camps is going to take time, government sources said Monday.

The main point of contention centers around whether special one-off legislation applying only to Emperor Akihito should be enacted or whether the Imperial House Law itself should be revised to permanently provide an opening for abdications.

The move could also push back the government’s plan to submit the special one-off bill to sometime after the Golden Week holidays through May 7, instead of late April, the sources said.

One of the sources said the final proposal will be compiled “before the long holiday period.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is hoping to get a special law enacted before the Diet session closes for the summer on June 18, the sources said.

Because the Imperial House Law, which stipulates issues related to the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy, lacks a provision for abdication, either an amendment or special legislation is necessary to let the emperor retire without dying first.

The advisory council, set up after the aging emperor hinted last August at a desire to step down in light of his age, issued an interim report Jan. 23 that emphasized the positive side of a pursuing a one-off abdication mechanism that would only apply to him, rather than all emperors.

The panel, chaired by Takashi Imai, honorary chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), canceled a meeting earlier this month to let the heads of both chambers in the Diet hash out the issue with representatives from each party.

Lawmakers on Monday said the Diet leaders will convene similar meetings with the various parties on Thursday and Friday as well.

The meetings come after the two Diet leaders earlier this month held hearing sessions with 10 parties and political groups in the legislature.

The leaders, House of Representatives Speaker Tadamori Oshima and House of Councilors President Chuichi Date, offered each party a document that summarizes the varying opinions on Imperial succession and told them of the meetings to be held on Thursday and Friday, the lawmakers said.

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