Emperor’s handover of all duties agreed

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A government panel broadly agreed Thursday that all official duties of the Emperor should be handed over to his successor when he steps down.

The panel accepted the proposal made by the Imperial Household Agency in January seeking the total handover to ensure the integrity of the Emperor’s status.

The panel discussing the Emperor’s possible abdication also agreed that the Imperial family’s Three Sacred Treasures — a mirror, sword and jewel — should be free of gift tax when they are passed on to his successor.

While the three items are free of inheritance tax, whether they should be subject to gift tax is an issue now as the Imperial throne is expected to be transferred while the current holder is still alive, an unseen situation in about two centuries.

The panel was slated to release a summary of its final report following Thursday’s meeting. But it skipped the release, citing the need for further work. The final report is scheduled to be released on April 21.

The panel agreed to call for promoting a public debate on ways to ensure stable Imperial succession, on the back of the falling number of Imperial Family members.

It also agreed that the Emperor and Empress will maintain their Imperial family membership after his abdication.

The government plans to draw up a bill to enable the Emperor’s abdication, based on the panel’s final report, as well as recommendations made by the Diet in March. It aims to submit the bill for debate in early May.Speech

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