Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later this month plans to show Crown Prince Naruhito multiple names, one of which might be chosen and used when a new Imperial era begins on May 1, government sources said Saturday.
However, Abe will not seek any comment from the Crown Prince, who will become the new emperor on May 1 after Emperor Akihito’s abdication the previous day, to make it clear that the government alone is responsible for selecting the new era name, the sources said.
Abe fears that the Crown Prince’s expression of his opinions about the name of his own era may be taken as unconstitutional, as Article 4 of the Constitution bans an emperor’s involvement in governmental affairs, they said.
Whether the Crown Prince will be informed of the candidate names in advance will not be disclosed, according to the sources.
Conservatives, Abe’s main backers, are said to be critical of the fact that the current Emperor, but not his successor, will take part in state events, such as its promulgation, related to the new era name.
In a related move, Abe plans to tell the Crown Prince, as well as Emperor Akihito, about the final decision on the name right before its announcement, the sources said.
The new era name is scheduled to be announced on April 1 after the current Emperor signs a relevant Cabinet ordinance the same day.