Panel: Low number of Imperial family members urgent issue

The Yomiuri Shimbun The government advisory panel on the Emperor’s abdication is urging discussion on measures to address a decrease in the number of Imperial family members, it was learned Saturday.

In the draft of the panel’s final report on the Emperor’s abdication issue, the panel — chaired by Takashi Imai, honorary chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) — proposed the measures be considered immediately, urging nationwide discussions at the government level as well as among citizens.

The report also included a view saying official duties of the Emperor as the symbol of the state should be fully taken over by the new emperor, in principle, to avoid duality of the symbol and authority.

The panel will hold final discussions on the issue in a meeting on Friday and submit its final report to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that same day.

The A-4 size, 19-page draft report mentions that abdicated emperors were historically titled “daijo tenno,” and proposes that “joko” is the appropriate title for the current Emperor to assume after he abdicates because a new title containing the word “tenno” (emperor) would give the impression that there are two existing emperors.

The report also stipulates the Empress be titled “jokogo” after the Emperor’s abdication, and calls for the establishment of a new organization that supports the joko and jokogo. It also encouraged the creation of a post of chief chamberlain to serve the joko, as the grand chamberlain does the Empress under the current system.

In a previous meeting of the panel, the Imperial Household Agency presented a view that the current Emperor’s official duties should be assumed in full by the new emperor. The panel cited this view in its draft, stating that measures of this kind are appropriate to avoid “duality of the symbol of the state and authority.”

Regarding Prince Akishino — who will become first in the Imperial line of succession after his elder brother, current Crown Prince Naruhito, ascends to the throne — the draft proposes he be called “Akishinonomiya Koshi” or “Koshi Akishinonomiya” after the Emperor’s abdication. The panel also urged the establishment of a new “koshi” organization to support the prince. The new organization would be equivalent to the current Togu office of the Imperial Household Agency, as the Togu office staff serves the current crown prince.

The report also recommended fixed allowances for the koshi’s expenses be tripled from the current amount for Prince Akishino. In fiscal 2016, the allowance for his expenses was ¥30.5 million, and that for his family was ¥67.1 million.

The draft also pointed out that measures to counter a decrease in the number of Imperial family members is becoming an issue that can no longer be delayed. However, it lacked concrete measures for this purpose, such as the creation of female Imperial branches.Speech

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