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  #41  
Old 07-13-2016, 07:45 PM
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I must say, the more I think about it, the more I feel it would be unusual for the IHA to leak or announce such a thing until they were sure it would happen - and then it would be a formal and proper announcement having consulted the government and set in place a mechanism for the Emperor to abdicate.

The Emperor has always appeared to resist cutting down on his duties. Even though it was announced earlier this year that he and the Empress would undertake fewer meetings and audiences at the Imperial Palace - the amount they are cutting down is not that many and will be spread over the next years - something like a reduction of a few dozen each year or something.

Both the Emperor and the Empress have suffered health problems in recent years and are of advancing age. Nonetheless, their health has more recently been stable and they are well looked after. Recent appearances has seen them both looking fit and well.

So I am unsure if it is really being considered and even it it was being considered, that is an early stage situation and surely not an issue to be made public yet.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
I must say, the more I think about it, the more I feel it would be unusual for the IHA to leak or announce such a thing until they were sure it would happen - and then it would be a formal and proper announcement having consulted the government and set in place a mechanism for the Emperor to abdicate.

The Emperor has always appeared to resist cutting down on his duties. Even though it was announced earlier this year that he and the Empress would undertake fewer meetings and audiences at the Imperial Palace - the amount they are cutting down is not that many and will be spread over the next years - something like a reduction of a few dozen each year or something.

Both the Emperor and the Empress have suffered health problems in recent years and are of advancing age. Nonetheless, their health has more recently been stable and they are well looked after. Recent appearances has seen them both looking fit and well.

So I am unsure if it is really being considered and even it it was being considered, that is an early stage situation and surely not an issue to be made public yet.
My thoughts as well.
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  #43  
Old 07-13-2016, 09:09 PM
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Reporters from The New York Times and The Times have some theories.

http://twitter.com/dicklp/with_replies
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One senior source in Palace told me he knew nothing & 1st heard on NHK. Two others not picking up phones.

Kyodo etc also citing "govt source" of their own,not just reporting NHK so no doubt this is co-ordinatd leak

Jpnese news organisations TERRIFIED of getting reporting on Imp family wrong - they wd rather miss a scoop.. ..so source must be impeccable.

Suspect it's true: Emperor wants it out so no 1 can make him change his mind

Paradox is that he's leftie adored by the right. Abdication might offend traditionalists' love of precedent

Emperor has in past spoken of exhausting public duties, even "loneliness" of being on throne.

Other theories: 1) Emp wants 2 create distraction to make constitutional change harder (not sure I believe). (2) He wants 2 give Crown Prince time 2 find his bearings & make it harder 4 right 2 manipulate him (maybe)
http://twitter.com/HirokoTabuchi/with_replies
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On Emperor news, we know very little what's going on. NHK & other major outlets all now reporting Akihito wants to abdicate in a few years..but a high-ranking official of the Imperial Household Agency, tasked with the imperial family's affairs, has strongly denied the reports.

One thing we do know: there have long been signs of tension btwn the Emperor's family and the Imperial Household Agency. Did the Emperor leak his intentions to media w/out Agency's consent as a fait accompli? That's one theory being floated right now.

Emperor Akihito once caused a furor by speaking about his Korean roots (a big taboo in Japanese conservative circles). Some at the Imperial Household Agency, which maintains the "purity" of the imperial line, were incensed, according to accounts at the time.

Remarks made by Akihito over the years have also been interpreted as showing he is a staunch supporter of Japan's pacifist constitution. However, any perceived interference by the Emperor in politics is controversial, bc as figurehead he is not granted any political power. ..something which I think Emperor Akihito understands well and respects.

Ironically Emperor's supposed pacifist leanings have made him target of some nationalists, the very people you think of as ardent supporters

Also ironically Abe's proposed changes to Constitution wd restore the Emperor as head of state, bringing Japan back to imperial times (?) But it's thought the Emperor himself wd be opposed to such a change, and some wonder whether that is driving his supposed wish to abdicate.

Emperor Akihito has also been very enthusiastic in visiting countries Japan once colonized, to try to mend ties. And of course, even his father, the vilified Emperor Hirohito, was against the enshrinement of executed military leaders at Yasukuni Shrine. Akihito has also made speeches overseas, eg in Canada, praising multiculturalism, a sensitive topic in Japan which sees itself as homogenous

But again, we don't know for sure why media - public broadcaster NHK no less - wd run a report promptly denied by the Agency. Strange times.
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  #44  
Old 07-13-2016, 09:43 PM
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I guess ... The plot thickens. Emperor Akihito is rebelling against the IHA by leaking an abdication rumour to mass media. Why would he do that? The whole situation is surreal.

Japan is forced to change the Constitution to conform to the new realities in the world.
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  #45  
Old 07-13-2016, 11:06 PM
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Wow, got home from work and must say wasn't expecting this news when I turned on my computer. I wasn't sure there would be any abdications in the near future but the emperor for me was right up there with QEII on the least likely ever to abdicate.

I do hope this brings some changes like to how women are treated, both as heirs (even if they simply introduce male-preference) and losing their place on marriage.
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  #46  
Old 07-14-2016, 12:39 AM
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Finally catching up... this is surprising news. Emperor Akihito has nudged the Imperial House towards progress / made surprising actions so abdication is feasible, I suppose. It's hard to believe NHK and other media, usually so careful regarding the IHA, would publish an incorrect report.

According to Sankei, the Emperor and Empress had a regular health check up on July 10th and are staying at Hayama Imperial Villa through July 14th (Asahi's Imperial household agenda). The next few days/months will be interesting.
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  #47  
Old 07-14-2016, 01:22 AM
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Posts about Queen Elizabeth II have been removed as some posters apparently think that England is under attack when HM's name is mentioned.
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  #48  
Old 07-14-2016, 02:40 AM
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As for Pr. Masako's ability to be Empress, she has been accompanying her husband on engagements a lot for a while now, so she seems to be doing vastly better than before. She'll be fine, IMO, whenever that change in her status occurs.
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  #49  
Old 07-14-2016, 03:58 AM
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I am so surprised at the IHAs power. Why can't the Emperor just fire the lot and hire new personel?!? Because at the end, that is just what they are, right?
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  #50  
Old 07-14-2016, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rominet09 View Post
I really don't beleive it... due to the sanctity of his role
If the Pope can, all can...

By the way, Japan got an Emperor in 1867. Before that the sovereignity was held by the Shoguns from 1192 to 1867. Almost all Shoguns abdicated for their successor. Japan is the state with the longest abdication tradition.

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I am so surprised at the IHAs power. Why can't the Emperor just fire the lot and hire new personel?!? Because at the end, that is just what they are, right?
The Emperor has zero comma zero formal authority, even about his Household. Under the current Constitution the Emperor of Japan is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people" and exercises a purely ceremonial role without even the possession of sovereignty. (For an example: the Sovereignity of the United Kingdom is attributed to Queen Elizabeth II.) The Allied Powers created the ultimate Golden Cage for the Emperor. It was the only option for Japan to remain a monarchy after the defeat in WWII.
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  #51  
Old 07-14-2016, 04:26 AM
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Eh, the Shoguns were a kind military dictator or governor or lord protector - whatever you prefer.
There certainly were emperors around at the same time. In fact the power of the Shogun was based on the emperor - the first duty being to protect the emperors sacred person.
That the emperors and the court were basically confined to perpetual house arrest in Kyoto is another matter.

It was only when Japan was forced to open up for foreign trade in the 1860's (at gun-point) that the emperor got a more public role.
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  #52  
Old 07-14-2016, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Jacknch View Post
[...] So I am unsure if it is really being considered and even it it was being considered, that is an early stage situation and surely not an issue to be made public yet.
To me it looks that the IHA has set the machine in movement and that will lead to the possibility for the Emperor to lay down his imperial prerogatives indeed, if he wishes to do so. Once the machine is in movement, it is is difficult to stop, so yes: the desired possibility will be created. For Akihito, and for all Emperors after him.

Under pressure everything becomes fluïd.
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  #53  
Old 07-14-2016, 06:29 AM
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The IHA today,by word of Yamamoti,denied the Emperor has plans to Abdicate.
But then the IHA always is at it's best when making sure a golden cage is just that,a cage with no say whatshowever by the Emperor or any other member of the Imperial Family.A suffocating medieval institution the IHA still has the power in the palace,from second to second,day in,day out,for a lifetime.
Time their power is to be curtailed and the IF is to breath free.
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  #54  
Old 07-14-2016, 07:46 AM
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Indeed. It is in the very best and essential interest of the IHA to keep the Golden Cage firmly shut, as their influence is directly related to that system. These rare cracks in the Japanese system probably reveal a powerstruggle between the imperial family, the IHA and the Government.
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  #55  
Old 07-14-2016, 08:17 AM
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Emperor wants to give up throne to eldest son, retire?The Asahi Shimbun

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But for now, getting the ball rolling is not under consideration, according to senior officials of the Imperial Household Agency. What the emperor intends and whether his wish can be implemented are two different things, the officials said.
Suga: No legal revision in plan for abdication - News - NHK WORLD - English

Quote:
The Japanese government says it has no plans for legal revisions regarding the Emperor's wish to abdicate.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga […] said on Thursday the government had no prior knowledge of the news, and there are no plans to confirm the reports with the Imperial Household Agency. […] Suga said the government has no plans to revise the law to pave the way for abdication.
Gov't mulls legal changes over possible abdication of Emperor - The Mainichi

Quote:
At the prime minister's office, a top secret team has been established under Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita, a top bureaucrat with a background in the National Police Agency, to consider related revisions to the Imperial House Law. Details of the team's discussions have been kept confidential within the prime minister's office, with only a handful of people informed of the details, even among high ranking government officials.

[…]

A government official involved with past revisions of the Imperial House Law commented, "Under a constitutional system of government, the will of the Imperial Family should not come into play around the period of imperial succession." As such, there are views within the government that a special law should be made for the current situation alone, rather than revising the Imperial House Law to form a permanent system.
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  #56  
Old 07-14-2016, 08:24 AM
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Of course one has to keep in mind that the IHA and the Golden Cage are not for nothing. After the terrible losses in WWI the thrones of Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary collapsed. Three mighty empires. After WWII the Japanese monarchy could easily have collapsed too, Japan being completely ruined, including nuclear bombs on Japanese cities. The monarchy could only survive within the strictest possible limitations and as an utmost ceremonial position without any influence. The IHA is in fact only doing what the Allied Powers of 1945 decided. There was no choice. A sparkling Golden Cage. Or no monarchy at all...
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  #57  
Old 07-14-2016, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
.
The Emperor has zero comma zero formal authority, even about his Household. Under the current Constitution the Emperor of Japan is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people" and exercises a purely ceremonial role without even the possession of sovereignty. (For an example: the Sovereignity of the United Kingdom is attributed to Queen Elizabeth II.) The Allied Powers created the ultimate Golden Cage for the Emperor. It was the only option for Japan to remain a monarchy after the defeat in WWII.
That is absolutely terrible!!!!! In what way could the option to be able hire & fire your own staff influence the Emperors public role.
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  #58  
Old 07-14-2016, 10:33 AM
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Emperor Akihito of Japan Plans to Abdicate Throne, Broadcaster Says

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/14/wo...one-share&_r=0
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  #59  
Old 07-14-2016, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SLV View Post
That is absolutely terrible!!!!! In what way could the option to be able hire & fire your own staff influence the Emperors public role.
To be fair, to a certain level all Constitutional monarchs are a puppet themselves. In most monarchies the staff is on the payment list of a ministerial department. He who pays, is he who says. Of course with all required honour and politesse and bowing here and there. In the end most Sovereigns are under control themselves.
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Old 07-14-2016, 01:13 PM
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These articles are very interesting, so I recommend everyone here to read them in full and not just the part in my quotes. And thanks to Tatiana Maria for all the articles.

Imperial Household Agency denies Emperor has expressed intention to abdicate - The Mainichi

People in disaster-hit areas react to news of Emperor's possible abdication - The Mainichi

Top Imperial Household Agency officials consider Emperor's desire to abdicate - The Mainichi

5 minute video from NHK World:
Emperor Considers Abdication - News - NHK WORLD - English

Read more: COMMENTARY: Akihito clearly devoted much thought to plan to abdicate?The Asahi Shimbun
Quote:
However, Emperor Akihito has actively expanded the range of his activities to beyond state matters since he assumed the throne. He has made repeated trips overseas and visited with victims of natural disasters across Japan. He has also made visits abroad to pay his respects to the victims of the last war during important anniversary years.

Akihito clearly stated that he wanted to change the standing of the emperor to one "who works on behalf of the people," from the role of one who "progressed together with the people" that was the standard during the Showa Era (1926-1989).

The emperor's intention to abdicate likely arises from this view of an active "symbol of the state."

That is one reason he was passive toward calls to reduce the burden placed on him and why he said that he wanted "to do his best as long as he was able to fulfill his duties."

His background in science can be seen in the careful thought given to the imperial household system, historical facts as well as the traditions of the imperial household in a modern era. From about five years ago, thorough consideration has been given to looking at the detailed process and systemic background surrounding the manner in which his father served as regent when the health of Emperor Taisho deteriorated. That was a time when Emperor Showa, the posthumous name for Emperor Hirohito, still served as crown prince.

Given that background, the emperor's intention to abdicate was communicated after careful and detailed preparation, giving that proposal even greater gravity.

Akihito has long taken a flexible and open stance about the future of the imperial household that would be compatible with the times. That has been demonstrated in an attempt to review the Imperial House Law in the event there was no male successor to the throne as well as by the emperor's expression of his desire to be cremated rather than follow the traditional course of burial in imperial mausoleums.

However, because abdication goes to the very heart of the imperial household system, along with the principle of imperial succession, realizing it will require a comprehensive review and revision of the Imperial House Law.

There will likely be many hurdles to be overcome before abdication can become a reality because it would mean nothing other than a fundamental change in the path taken by the modern emperor system. Among the issues that will have to be dealt with are the relationship between the retired emperor and the reigning emperor as well as the implementation of measures to prevent the emperor as symbol of state from wielding influence in various circles in Japan, much like past emperors did when they were considered the head of state.

(Katsumi Iwai is a former senior staff writer at The Asahi Shimbun and covered the imperial family for many years.)
As other here have said, I really miss ChiaraC and her brilliant posts.
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