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Prince Akishino relieved at enactment of abdication law

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko speak during a press conference Wednesday.

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prince Akishino, the second son of the Emperor and Empress, has said he and his family members are “relieved” about the enactment in June of a special law to allow the Emperor to abdicate.

Meeting the press ahead of his 52nd birthday on Thursday, the prince commented on the abdication matter publicly for the first time. His wife, Princess Kiko, also joined the news conference.

The special legislation was formulated after the Emperor expressed last year his strong wish to step down due to his advancing age.

Noting that the Emperor and Empress have carried out many duties even since turning 80, the prince said, “I want them to have as much time for relaxing as possible after the abdication.”

After the abdication, Prince Akishino will be the first in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

He said he will have to use an approach of trial and error after the abdication, an unprecedented event in modern Japanese history, actually takes place and a new era starts upon Crown Prince Naruhito’s succession to the Imperial throne.

On official duties currently undertaken by the crown prince, “I’d like to take over as many as possible,” he said.

But he also said, “I need to think carefully how many duties it will be physically possible for me to take over.”

On the engagement of his eldest daughter, Princess Mako, and her former university classmate Kei Komuro, both 26, the Prince revealed that he first met with Komuro around 2013.

“The Emperor and Empress told me congratulations, looking very happy about their first grandchild’s engagement,” he said.

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