Prince Akishino Turns 46, Calls for Emperor ‘Retirement Age’
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.
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.Filed under Japanese Royals
Tagged Birthday, Emperor Akihito, Health, Imperial Household Agency, Portraits, Press Conference, Prince Akishino, Prince Hisahito, Princess Kako, Princess Kiko, Princess Mako, Succession.