The Yomiuri Shimbun Public sympathy for the mental anguish the Emperor would endure if he continues his official duties has been included as a condition for abdication in the draft outline of a special measures law to realize the abdication, it has been learned.
The draft outline stipulates that “the abdication will be realized” in consideration of “a situation in which the people understand and sympathize with the Emperor’s mental anguish.” It also stipulates that the abdication will take place on the day the special measures law is enforced.
The draft outline includes special provisions in the Imperial House Law and related laws in line with the abdication, including the title “joko,” which the Emperor will be given after he abdicates.
The government will soon present the draft outline to ruling and opposition parties. Following the Diet consultation, the government intends to finalize the bill at a Cabinet meeting in May after the Golden Week holidays, and then submit it to the Diet.
In line with “the bill for a special measures law for the Imperial House Law concerning the Emperor’s abdication,” as it is to be called, the government will revise the Imperial House Law, stipulating that “the special measures law is integral to the Imperial House Law,” in the supplementary clause.
According to the draft outline, the special measures law will stipulate in Article 1 “conditions leading to the abdication,” not “the objectives.”
The draft outline specifies the conditions for the Emperor’s abdication as follows:
■ The Emperor, who has reached the advanced age of 83, feels deep mental anguish because it has become difficult to continue his duties as the symbol of the state.
■ The public understands and sympathizes with his mental anguish.
■ The crown prince, at 57, has been actively participating in official duties for a number of years, standing in for the Emperor in state affairs.
In addition, the special measures law will stipulate that “the Emperor’s abdication and the crown prince’s succession to the throne are realized as a special case of Article 4 of the Imperial House Law [that states the Emperor’s role is for life].”
The draft outline does not mention the Emperor’s message in August last year expressing his intent to abdicate, in order not to violate Article 4 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the Emperor shall not have powers related to government.
As to the timing of the abdication, the draft outline states that “the Emperor is to abdicate on the day the special measures law is enforced.” The government is considering adding a provision for “an ordinance specifying the date of the abdication within a period that does not exceed three years after the promulgation of the special measures law,” after seeking opinion from the Imperial Household Council.
As special provisions in the Imperial House Law, the special measures law will include that the Emperor is to be called “joko” after his abdication, and he is to receive the same “Taiso-no-Rei” funeral and “ryo” mausoleum as a sitting emperor. It will also state that he would be disqualified from Imperial succession and membership in the Imperial Household Council.
As special provisions in laws other than the Imperial House Law, the special measures law will specify that Feb. 23, the birthday of the crown prince, who is to succeed the throne, will be set as the Emperor’s birthday, and the Imperial family’s Three Sacred Treasures that have been inherited by past emperors would be free of inheritance tax.
Concerning Prince Akishino, who will become first in the Imperial line of succession, the special measures law will “follow suit with the crown prince” so that Prince Akishino would receive treatment equal to that of the crown prince, such as becoming first in line to act as regent.