Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Diet leaders on Friday handed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a proposal to create a special law to allow the current Emperor to step down.
The proposal backs a one-off law that would apply to the 83-year-old Emperor only. It also says the legislation should be based on a new Imperial House Law supplementary clause that would stipulate the unity of both laws.
Upon receiving the proposal, Abe said, “I accept the aggregate opinion of the legislature solemnly.” The government will make every effort to submit related bills to the Diet promptly, by starting work on them immediately, he said.
House of Representatives Speaker Tadamori Oshima asked Abe that the government explain the gist of the bills to political parties and present their outline to a meeting of representatives from parties before submission to the Diet.
The Abe government plans to draw up bills based on the proposal for submission to the Diet after the Golden Week holiday period that ends in early May.
The bills are highly likely to be enacted during the ongoing parliamentary session, currently scheduled to end on June 18.
In a rare video message last August, the Emperor signaled his wish to step down from the Chrysanthemum Throne, citing his advancing age and declining physical strength. There is no clause for Imperial abdication in the Constitution or the Imperial House Law.
No succession from a living emperor has taken place for about 200 years.
The parliamentary proposal says that the Imperial House Law, in a supplementary clause, should stipulate explicitly the unity between the law and the envisaged one-time special law on Imperial abdication.
It also calls on the government to promptly consider measures to ensure stable succession for the Imperial throne, including by allowing female members of the Imperial family to head branches of the family after marriage, once the special law takes effect.
Currently, a woman needs to leave the Imperial family if she marries a man outside the family. The idea of allowing Imperial family branches headed by women has been put forward as a way to deal with the dwindling number of members in the family.Speech