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  #301  
Old 01-20-2017, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by JSH View Post
Except that I've never gotten the impression that the Emperor is the head of the IHA. He's more an underling of theirs. Along with the rest of the royal family.

That's very much my impression as well.
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  #302  
Old 01-20-2017, 08:04 AM
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While the emperor and the IHA do not always agree, I have gotten the impression that the heads of the IHA have fully supported the emperor in his possible abdication since 2014.
http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...ml#post1927739

ChiaraC kindly shared excerpts from a book she saw as credible (Prinzessin Masako – Der gefangene Schmetterling, 2005), some relating to the emperor and IHA.

http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums...ako-16054.html

Quote:
From my point of view, I can say that neither the style of the book nor the contents give the impression of yellow press. One of the authors, Martin Fritz, is a German journalist who lives in Tokio and works for a German public TV station, ARD, and they are usually supposed to be "serious" and to not invent things to make a story. (Of course there are many differences but to give you an idea: they have a reputation a bit like BBC.) They definitely have a reputation to lose if one of them tells nonsense. So I really suppose he should be creditable. The other author, Yoko Kobayashi, works as a free journalist in Tokio.

[…]

Fritz and Kobayashi have heard from someone who has insider information about the monarchy: "It is not imaginable that the IHA decided alone, without the consent of the emperor and empress, to stop the trips [of the crown princess] abroad."

[…]

I will below (see "The kunaicho") give more details concerning what Fritz and Kobayashi explain about the IHA and its loss of power in the last decades. Here I will only say that they state that while the late Showa-Tenno, Hirohito, never meddled with the dealings of the IHA and just concentrated on his own role, the present emperor and empress actively make use of the kunaicho as an instrument to realize their own ideas, and that they insist to be informed about all official matters that concern the members of the imperial family. The executives of the IHA can do or say nothing against the will of the emperor.

[…]

But the executives of the IHA nowadays do not stay there for more than two or three years. It is not attractive for them, as Fritz and Kobayashi explain, because most ministries entertain contacts with some of the big japanese companies. And when the executives retire on pension which they usually do rather early they have a good chance to get a nice position in one of those companies… But the kunaicho does not have any contacts of that sort, so nobody wants to be there. An old ex-executive who has been working for the kunaicho nearly all his life complains: "Many are grateful if everything goes smoothly, if the traditions remain unchanged. Their mentality is: never be absent from your work, never be late and do nothing, be passive." They do not want to get into trouble, they do not want to take a risk, and so they do what the emperor and the empress tell them to. The prince has no significance for them. When his time of power will have come they will, in all probability, already be somewhere else…

[…]

Several times Masako and Naruhito tried to initiate certain activities, informed the executives of their general ideas and asked for suggestions how they could be put into practice, and again and again, they were rejected or ignored. (Fritz and Kobayashi do not leave a doubt that although "technically" speaking, they were blocked by executives of the IHA this could never have been done without the consent or even the special request of the emperor and empress.)

[…]

Toshio Yuasa, grand steward of the kunaicho, told the press that for the interest of the monarchy the Akishinos were desired to have their third child. And he added that this should be done quickly in order to not further increase the big gap (in age) already existing between this new child and its elder sisters. Fritz and Kobayashi comment that for an executive, even if he was the grand steward of the kunaicho, it would have been impertinent and by far exceeding his authority to bring public shame on the crown princess in such a way. And they say that as he nevertheless dared to act like this it is to be supposed that he was not speaking for himself but had been ordered to do so by a higher power…
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  #303  
Old 01-20-2017, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
That's very much my impression as well.
Don't forget that formally the Emperor is not Head of State. And we tend to discuss only one side of IHA.

From wiki:
The Agency's duties and responsibilities encompass the daily activities, such as state visits, organising events, preservation of traditional culture, administrative functions, etc., the agency is also responsible for the various imperial residences scattered throughout the country.
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  #304  
Old 01-21-2017, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Former PM and current Secretary General of the DPJ, Yoshihiko Noda told reporters female-headed branches should also be discussed.
Yomiuri
Google translation
Quote:
Amid these circumstances, an idea has surfaced within the government and ruling parties to compromise with opposition parties by including in a supplementary clause or other parts of the special measures law a provision to promote discussions on the creation of female branches of the Imperial family, or other issues demanded by the DP. However, there is no sign of the ruling and opposition parties making a concession at present. “If representatives from the ruling and opposition parties start this discussion, it will showcase their conflicts,” a senior member of the LDP said.
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003464291

Mr. Abe previously promised future discussions in December 2015.
Government to set up expert panel to deal with decrease in female Imperial family members | The Japan Times
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  #305  
Old 01-22-2017, 03:29 PM
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Emperor's abdication highlights the inconvenience behind the country's Imperial naming system | The Japan Times

Quote:
Now, it appears the Emperor may abdicate on Dec. 23, 2018 [...] a situation that could cause problems since the following seven days would comprise the first year of the new era, thus potentially messing up calendars, official documents and computer programs.

[...]

What makes gengō especially troublesome is its application to relative time. [...] Before the Meiji Era (1868-1912), it becomes impossible, since gengō didn’t often correspond to Imperial reigns. Many were reboots that occurred during a particular reign for arbitrary reasons, such as reversing bad luck following a natural disaster. One era lasted a single day. There have been 247 gengō since the system started in 646 A.D.

[...] Dozens of hired experts, the paper said, will have to pore over official records to make sure proposed gengō for the new era weren’t used before and that they don’t mimic place or personal names.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
More from Emperor Akihito's friend Mototsugu Akashi. Royal Norway's friend is correct about Emperor Akihito wanting to abdicate on his own terms.

Confidante says Emperor told him he wants abdication option codified for future monarchs | The Japan Times
Quote:
In the telephone conversation, Emperor Akihito reportedly explained his thoughts about the abdication issue.[...] Akashi then contacted Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso [...] Aso declined to meet with Akashi but instead introduced Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita to him.

Sugita, who is in charge of the abdication issue, met Akashi at the Prime Minister’s Office on Aug. 6. Akashi said he explained what the Emperor discussed and asked the government to quickly carry out Imperial reforms in line with the Emperor’s wishes.
I wonder why Akihito asked his friend to intercede on his behalf, instead of an IHA official or imperial family member.
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  #307  
Old 01-24-2017, 04:32 AM
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Many legal revisions needed before Emperor's possible abdication - The Mainichi

I also wonder what will happen to Emperor Akihito's birthday? No longer a national holiday? Or Japan gets both Akihito and Naruhito's birthdays as holidays?
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  #308  
Old 01-25-2017, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
Many legal revisions needed before Emperor's possible abdication - The Mainichi

I also wonder what will happen to Emperor Akihito's birthday? No longer a national holiday? Or Japan gets both Akihito and Naruhito's birthdays as holidays?
Japan has always celebrated the reigning Emperor's birthday. In the situation that Akihito does abdicate his birthday will likely be acknowledged but not celebrated the way it is now. Similar enough to how Showa Emperor's birthday is now.
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  #309  
Old 01-25-2017, 01:08 AM
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By the time they put everything in place for the abdication, the Emperor could be packing his bags to meet his maker. My Lord! just let him abdicate already.
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  #310  
Old 01-26-2017, 03:17 AM
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Editorial: Legal stability needed for Emperor's abdication - The Mainichi

Emperor's abdication issue a complicated matter for all involved - The Mainichi

Quote:
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has apparently withheld from making in-depth comments on the issue of Emperor Akihito's abdication, while he partially influenced the selection of experts who were interviewed by a panel to the government on the issue, it has been learned.

According to a source close to the group, two of the 16 experts interviewed by the panel were effectively picked by Abe -- University of Tokyo professor emeritus Sukehiro Hirakawa and Sophia University professor emeritus Shoichi Watanabe, both staunch opponents to the Emperor's abdication.

[...]

Yuji Otabe, professor at Shizuoka University of Welfare, who has argued for enabling the Emperor to abdicate by revising the Imperial House Law, had once been informed by a Cabinet Secretariat employee that he was selected as one of the experts to be interviewed by the government panel in early October last year. However, immediately after the selected experts for the panel hearing were publicly announced on Oct. 27, Otabe received a call saying his "informal" appointment was cancelled. "We'd like to strike a balance, from the right to the left," a Cabinet Secretariat employee told him in explaining the reason for the cancellation. In response, Otabe asked the employee, "Am I right or left?" to which no response was received.

[...]
... not surprising

EDITORIAL: Panel overly eager to push one-off imperial abdication: The Asahi Shimbun

Emperor could move to Akasaka Estate in Tokyo after abdication - The Mainichi
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  #311  
Old 01-26-2017, 03:38 AM
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More from the Mainichi article Prisma posted:
Quote:
"It is unreasonable (for the Emperor) to think that he wants to step down because he can't fulfill the roles he defined on his own," Hirakawa said. "To offer prayers is the most important role (for the Emperor). The prime minister should persuade the Emperor over the matter," Watanabe said.

Both experts argue that the Emperor does not need to perform public activities such as visiting regional areas, which Emperor Akihito has attached weight to, and that he shouldn't retire just because he can no longer carry out such activities due to his advanced age. The Imperial Household Agency, which aspires to bring about the Emperor's abdication at an early date, frowned on their comments, with one senior official saying, "Don't they understand His Majesty's efforts to pursue the role of the Emperor as the symbol of the state and the unity of the people?"
Read more: Historians lead charge as abdication talk raises slew of Imperial issues | The Japan Times
Quote:
Emperor Akihito may also look to examples of foreign monarchs of his generation, such as Dutch Queen Beatrix and Belgian King Albert II, or even Pope Benedict. All three retired in 2013.

Beatrix resumed her former title of princess and remained active, while Albert retained his title, though mostly staying out of public view. Benedict, as “pope emeritus,” moved to a monastery inside the Vatican walls.

“The Emperor himself was friends with Queen Beatrix and King Albert since his days as Crown Prince,” said Naotaka Kimizuka, an expert in European monarchies at Kanto Gakuin University. “I think he will probably consider them as reference points.”

The hallmark of the popular monarch’s reign has been travels with Empress Michiko, such as visits to domestic disaster sites to cheer up survivors, and overseas to soothe the wounds of a war fought in the name of his father, Emperor Hirohito.

Given Emperor Akihito’s belief that his public activities are central to his symbolic role, he may well let Crown Prince Naruhito take center stage.

“There is concern over splitting the message, splitting the symbol,” if Emperor Akihito stays too active, Doshisha’s Jones said.

The Emperor’s younger son, Prince Akishino, has suggested his parents would enjoy activities such as music and the marine biology research in which Akihito specializes.

A pay cut does seem in store for the Imperial Couple, who do not have a large personal fortune, unlike the British royals.

If they retreat to the shadows, they will probably get an annual allowance roughly equivalent to the $400,000 received by Emperor Akihito’s younger brother and his wife — or about a fifth what they get now, Kimizuka said.
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  #312  
Old 01-26-2017, 08:04 AM
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That sure is a lot of It's-not-possible-to-do-anything-new-let-alone-for-the-first-time arguments!

Of course it's possible for the Emperor to abdicate (or be abdicated). Should he become mad or suffer from senility he can hardly carry out his duties in praying for Japan and the Japanese, can he?

I'd imagine that it would for an ordinary Japanese at least also be a question of personal honor and thus satisfaction. That is, if you don't feel you can carry out your duties to your own satisfaction anymore, then it's time to bow out in a dignified manner. And that is what the Emperor has wished for. (That there may be other reasons as well is "incidental").
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  #313  
Old 01-26-2017, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
That sure is a lot of It's-not-possible-to-do-anything-new-let-alone-for-the-first-time arguments!

Of course it's possible for the Emperor to abdicate (or be abdicated). Should he become mad or suffer from senility he can hardly carry out his duties in praying for Japan and the Japanese, can he?
In this case regency will be established.

I still don't understand why The Emperor started all this hoopla with abdication instead of regency.


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  #314  
Old 01-26-2017, 01:19 PM
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Bringing former members back to Imperial family should be considered to maintain male succession, says Abe | The Japan Times
Quote:
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that giving Imperial family status to those in collateral branches of the family should be considered to sustain male-dominated succession in the face of the dwindling size of the world’s longest hereditary monarchy.

Imperial succession is an “extremely important issue related to the foundation of this nation and I believe it’s necessary to deal with it carefully and thoroughly,” Abe told the Lower House Budget Committee.
The regency issue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spheno View Post
In this case regency will be established.

I still don't understand why The Emperor started all this hoopla with abdication instead of regency.


I agree, but the emperor thinks otherwise.

This is what he said about a regency in his speech:

In coping with the aging of the emperor, I think it is not possible to continue reducing perpetually the emperor’s acts in matters of state and his duties as the symbol of the state. A regency may be established to act in the place of the emperor when the emperor cannot fulfill his duties for reasons such as he is not yet of age or he is seriously ill. Even in such cases, however, it does not change the fact that the emperor continues to be the emperor till the end of his life, even though he is unable to fully carry out his duties as the emperor.

When the emperor has ill health and his condition becomes serious, I am concerned that, as we have seen in the past, society comes to a standstill and people’s lives are impacted in various ways. The practice in the imperial family has been that the death of the emperor called for events of heavy mourning, continuing every day for two months, followed by funeral events which continue for one year. These various events occur simultaneously with events related to the new era, placing a very heavy strain on those involved in the events, in particular, the family left behind. It occurs to me from time to time to wonder whether it is possible to prevent such a situation.

As I said in the beginning, under the Constitution, the emperor does not have powers related to government. Even under such circumstances, it is my hope that by thoroughly reflecting on our country’s long history of emperors, the imperial family can continue to be with the people at all times and can work together with the people to build the future of our country, and that the duties of the emperor as the symbol of the state can continue steadily without a break. With this earnest wish, I have decided to make my thoughts known.

I sincerely hope for your understanding.

The Emperor said this to his feiend Mototsugu Akashi in a telephone conversation:

Confidant says Emperor told him he wants abdication option codified for future monarchs | The Japan Times
Quote:
In the telephone conversation, Emperor Akihito reportedly explained his thoughts about the abdication issue. In the eras before the Meiji Era (1868-1912), many emperors abdicated and it would not be unusual if he did likewise, the Emperor was quoted as saying.

The Emperor also said he is opposed to the installation of regents because when Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, served as regent for his father, Emperor Taisho, the public split into two groups — one supporting the reigning monarch and the other the regent, Akashi said.
This is 2017 and Japan is a modern country, and I am absolutely certain that the public will not be split into two groups, if a regency is established.

As I have said many times before, I am a big admirer of Emperor Akihito, but he seems a bit out of touch.
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  #315  
Old 01-27-2017, 01:25 AM
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The Imperial court was also divided.
Emperor hopes to see abdication system introduced, friend says - The Mainichi
Quote:
[...]
Emperor Showa became the regent for Emperor Taisho in November 1921 when he was a 20-year-old crown prince due to his father's poor health.

The then Imperial Household Ministry, the predecessor of the Imperial Household Agency, decided to install Emperor Hirohito as regent as Emperor Taisho's critical faculties, memory and ability to speak were deteriorating, according to official records.

But Emperor Taisho refused to hand over a small box containing the imperial seal when the grand chamberlain came to receive it, according to the diary of the emperor's aide.

Emperor Showa served as regent under Emperor Taisho until his father died in December 1926 at the age of 47.

In the case of Emperor Showa, who became ill and bed-ridden, no regent was appointed, for reasons that are not known.

Takeshi Hara, a professor at the Open University of Japan who is well-versed in the imperial system, pointed out that Emperor Akihito's remarks indicate that he knows very well what went on behind the scenes in Emperor Taisho's day, when the imperial court was split into factions, one supporting the emperor and the other the regent.

"It seems to be unbearable (for the emperor) to become like Emperor Taisho," he added.
While I doubt Emperor Akihito would become like his grandfather, I agree with Muhler that the Emperor wishes for a dignified exit and he clearly considers public duties essential to the position.
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  #316  
Old 02-01-2017, 08:30 AM
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A conservative scholar who argued against the Emperor's abdication during the expert panel's hearing was told by an aide to the prime minister in early December, "You are absolutely right in your reasoning, and the prime minister agrees with you." The aide, however, also told the scholar, "It would be difficult to oppose abdication," referring to opinion poll results that show many people are in favor of the Emperor's abdication.
I am surprised that Prime Minister Abe was influenced by opinion polls, because he has always ignored the public opinion on revision of the Imperial House Law.

Quote:
But the panel’s report states, “If general rules are set, they will be used to justify the arbitrary decision of the administration of the time.”

We find it quite difficult to comprehend how setting the rules will enable the administration to do as it pleases. By extension, the panel’s argument even suggests that we are all better off without any laws and rules.

[...]

Many experts have proposed that the [Imperial Household Council’s] decision be included in the conditions for imperial abdication to prevent any emperor from stepping down either under pressure or of his free will.

But the panel showed reluctance to that proposal, noting, “(The proposal) is inappropriate in view of the principle of separation of the three branches of government.

The Imperial Household Council is an organ that deliberates such issues as the imperial order of succession, marriages of imperial family members, their relinquishment of their status and regency.

We don’t see how the council deliberating on imperial abdication could violate the principle of separation of the three branches of government. The panel gave no concrete explanation about where and how imperial abdication differs, in substance, from matters decided by the council.
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  #317  
Old 02-01-2017, 09:53 AM
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Tatiana Maria, I was surprised by this as well, but it would have been difficult for Abe to oppose an abdication, when 80% agree with the Emperor.
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  #318  
Old 02-05-2017, 12:59 PM
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No country for old emperors | The Japan Times

Quote:
However, while there have dozens of regencies over the long history of the Imperial system, instances of the person acting as regent being the crown prince or other prospective heir to the throne account for only a handful of these.

[...] having the crown prince act as regent for an emperor who is still alive and possibly active could bifurcate and dilute the symbolism of the role. Emperor Akihito could easily live to be 100, leaving Crown Prince Naruhito to act as regent, performing symbolic roles without the symbolic title, before finally succeeding to the throne well into his 70s. How would he viewed by the people after two decades in the nebulous role of regent?

[...] the committee divided [the Emperor's] activities into three categories. The first was “acts in matters of state.” These are mandated by the Constitution, performed with the advice and consent of the Cabinet, and include promulgating laws, appointing or attesting the appointment of various government officials, granting honors and amnesties, opening and dissolving the Diet and receiving foreign ambassadors. These acts can be performed by a duly appointed proxy.

The second was “other public activities.” These are not in the Constitution but cover a broad variety of other public activities that it has become customary for the Emperor to perform as part of his role as the symbol of the nation, such as consoling victims of natural disasters and state visits to foreign countries. Since these account for a significant part of the Emperor’s workload but are outside the scope of activities that can be performed through proxies, the committee noted that greater application of existing law was also unlikely to be a solution.

Finally there were “other activities,” which include the eclectic list of court rituals, as well as visiting shrines, residing in palaces, watching sumo and doing marine biology research. Some of these, however, are essentially code for “prayer,” which raises another subtle, potentially deep constitutional issue: the separation of religion and government.

More than one of the witnesses advising the committee expressed the view that the Emperor’s single most important duty was to pray for the nation. Currently, the role the Emperor plays as a leading figure in the Shinto religion is performed under the rubric of the private affairs of the Imperial household, yet it is a role with a far longer history than the current constitutional one.

How this would work if the Emperor abdicated is likely to be a key consideration, yet one that nobody in government can likely discuss, at least openly. A hint of it was seen when the Imperial Household Agency effectively quashed proposals to have whatever transition does happen occur on Jan. 1 — thereby preventing the confusing occurrence of a calendar year that straddles two different regnal periods — by declaring that the Emperor would be too busy with other things on that date. (The agency’s website lists two separate religious rituals performed on that day.).
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Originally Posted by Prisma View Post
While I doubt Emperor Akihito would become like his grandfather, I agree with Muhler that the Emperor wishes for a dignified exit and he clearly considers public duties essential to the position.
Unfortunately for him, many conservatives and nationalists do not agree.

Quote:
There is criticism that the Emperor has haphazardly expanded the scope of his public duties — many of which comes from right-wing commentators, who favor appointing a regent and want the Emperor to sit still.
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  #319  
Old 02-05-2017, 01:54 PM
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That sounds like a typical example of why something can't be done for the first time.

Anyway, it's a rearguard action though. Because the issue of abdication has de facto been decided. The only obstacle to that happening now, is if the Emperor dies before the legislation is in place.
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  #320  
Old 02-06-2017, 04:00 PM
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LDP leaders support onetime abdication law for Akihito | Nippon TV NEWS24 JAPAN

LDP executives back special abdication law for Emperor Akihito | The Japan Times
Quote:
[...]

The LDP also found that 70 percent of its members who submitted written opinions expressed their support for such a special law.

[...]

At a meeting on Thursday, many members of Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, said they favored such a special law as well.

The LDP aims to adopt its view on the issue on Feb. 13, sources said.
[...]
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