Emperor Akihito To Abdicate In April 2019

  December 1, 2017 at 5:42 am by

Following a meeting of the Imperial Household Council on Friday morning, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has announced that Emperor Akihito will abdicate the throne on April 30, 2019.

His son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will succeed the throne the following day, May 1.

Emperor Akihito, who will be 85 when his abdication comes around, announced his wish to abdicate in a video broadcast to the Japanese people in August 2016. He will be the first Japanese Emperor to abdicate in over 200 years. It was originally suggested the abdication could take place at the end of 2018, however this was vetoed by the Imperial Household Agency citing scheduling conflicts with New Year events.

The Imperial Household Council has only met eight times since 1947, when it was formed in connection with the Imperial Household Law of 1947. The Council – which has ten members: the Prime Minister, two members of the Imperial Family, the Speaker and Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President and Vice President of the House of Councillors, the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency, the Chief Justice, and one Supreme Court Justice – meets to approve matters relating to several Articles of the Imperial Household Law of 1947.

Prince Akishino and Princess Hitachi are the Imperial Family’s incumbent members on the Council; however as the matter discussed related directly to Prince Akishino (as he will become first in line for the throne upon his brother’s accession), he stood aside for the meeting and his uncle, Prince Hitachi, a reserve Council member, took his place.

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