National

State does not plan to have female members of Imperial family attend key enthronement ceremony

JIJI

The government plans not to have female members of the Imperial Family attend Kenji to Shokei no Gi, one of core ceremonies that will be used to mark Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne after Emperor Akihito’s abdicates, sources said Saturday.

The government will follow the example of the same ceremony held at the time of the Emperor Akihito’s enthronement, in which the participants from the Imperial family were all male, the sources said.

The ceremony is scheduled to be held on May 1 next year to hand down to the new emperor the Sacred Sword and Curved Jewels of the Imperial regalia, as well as the Privy Seal and the State Seal.

It has never been attended by women since the 1889 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.

The previous Kenji to Shokei no Gi was held on Jan. 7, 1989, when it was performed as a state act for the first time. It was attended by the prime minister, other Cabinet ministers, the speakers and deputy speakers of both chambers of the Diet, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Although some experts told the government that it would be desirable to have underage members of the Imperial Family, including female members, attend the enthronement-related ceremonies, the government took into account conservative opinions calling for respecting tradition.

But the government is considering allowing the attendance of female Cabinet ministers, if any.

On Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that the government will basically follow the examples set by the enthronement-related ceremonies held for Emperor Akihito when deciding the details for the events related to Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the throne, which will continue through autumn next year.

Emperor Akihito, 84, is set to abdicate on April 30 next year, the day before the Crown Prince, now 58, ascends the throne.