Prince Akishino Turns 46, Calls for Emperor ‘Retirement Age’

  December 2, 2011 at 12:33 am by

HIH Prince Akishino of Japan, the second son of HIM Emperor Akihito, celebrated his forty-sixth birthday on November 30th, with a press conference at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace.

View the full image at Daylife

When discussing the events of 2011, including the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster, the Prince spoke of his father’s many official duties. “When you pass a certain age, it gradually becomes difficult for people to do various things,” he said, after asking the Imperial Household Agency (IHA) to allow Emperor Akihito flexibility in his duties. Prince Akishino told reporters that “it will become necessary” to have an age limit, or ‘retirement age’, for Japanese Emperors.

Emperor Akihito, who will celebrate his seventy-eighth birthday on December 23rd, was recently released from hospital after spending almost three weeks recovering from pneumonia and fever.

Prince Akishino also spoke of the current debate over where to change Imperial laws stating Princesses must leave the imperial family upon marriage to commoners (the most recent example is the Emperor’s daughter, former Princess Nori, who married a commoner in November 2005 and left the imperial family). “To maintain the imperial family as it is now, I believe a certain number [of family members] is necessary,” he said, continuing by saying that the Diet would be well advised to seek the opinions of both him and his elder brother, Crown Prince Naruhito, before making any decisions regarding the future of the family.

Earlier in the day, portraits were released by the IHA of the Prince and his family to mark the birthday. The photographs, taken on November 18th, show Prince Akishino surrounded by his wife, Princess Kiko, their two daughters, Princesses Mako and Kako, and son, Prince Hisahito.

TRF BLOG SOUND-OFF: What do you think of Prince Akishino’s comments? Should a retirement age be set for Emperors, allowing them to live out their final years in peace – and if so, what age should it be? Let us know in the comments.

Click here to read more about Prince Akishino and his family.

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6 Responses to Prince Akishino Turns 46, Calls for Emperor ‘Retirement Age’

  1. Cathy Lawie-Phillips says:

    I can understand where Prince Akishino is coming from however I can’s see putting an ‘age’ limit on retiring. It depends on the health and well being of the Emperor and his thoughts as well. Take the Queen of England who does a very good job in her 80s and obviously still wants to rule. Should be a joint decision of all concerned.

  2. Dr. Genevieve Huang says:

    I agree with Cathy Lawie-Phillips completely!

  3. Brenda Kay says:

    I don’t wish to be disrespectful or controversial, but I’ve long held the impression of Prince Akishino that he is much more concerned and occupied with moving himself and his family into a position of power within the Imperial Family more than anything else.

    Emperor Akihito should not be “forced” to abdicate simply based upon reaching a certain age. His Highness appears to be of sound mind, so any decision about him stepping down should be made under the greatest of considerations and discussions.

  4. Chip. says:

    I agree with Brenda, that Prince Akishino often seems like he’s just a little manipulative, regarding the affairs of the family and what position of power he occupies in it. I don’t think that Akihito should be forced into any sort of retirement age or that any Emperor in the future should be either. It might be better, however, if Akihito could slow down; his health isn’t what it used to be, sadly, though he’s far from brittle. Still, definitely not worth making him “retire”.

    But I think I’m a little proud of Akishino’s not-very-tongue-in-cheek comment about the Diet discussing things with him and his brother before they make any sort of decisions regarding the family’s future. Hopefully that means he’s leaning toward tolerance of Imperial daughters marrying commoners without having to leave the Imperial family.

  5. Tony says:

    I think thta his view on daughters leaving the family (however silly and antiquted as it may be) has more to do with him having 2 daughters. Further I agree that he has become very manipulative and the fact that his wife fell pregnant during the time of the succession crisis was I think planned on their part so that one of their children became Emperor. Crown Prince N better be be careful that there is not a palace coup and he is not replaced as heir. Further as ill as she may be, Crown Princess Masako better get her act together and become visible otherwise come the current Emperors passing, she will disappear from sight and we could have a Empress Kiko

  6. Katie says:

    Changes such as Prince Akishino suggests will require changes in the Imperial Household Law. How this will be recieved has yet to be seen.

    One item that should be addressed is succession: the current succession is agnatic (males only). Princess Kiko and the two Akishino daughters cannot become Empress-regnant.

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