Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government on Tuesday launched a preparatory committee for ceremonies related to the Emperor’s abdication on April 30, 2019, and Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the throne on the following day.
At its first meeting, the committee confirmed its task of drawing up a basic policy on holding the ceremonies by mid-March.
Imperial succession that follows a sitting emperor’s abdication will be “the first in about 200 years and in the country’s history of constitutional government,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who heads the committee, said at the meeting.
“We need to do our best to ensure that the event takes place smoothly, celebrated by the public,” Suga stressed.
“We’ll draw up a basic policy promptly, and after it has been approved at a Cabinet meeting, the government will work to make its best preparations,” he added.
The committee will meet about once a month. Its members include the three deputy chief cabinet secretaries, the grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency, the director-general of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and the vice minister at the Cabinet Office.
During the meeting, participants said that ceremonies for the upcoming Imperial succession should be based on those conducted when the Emperor assumed the throne in 1989, and that it is desirable to hold some ceremony at the time of the abdication.
The government plans to conduct the expected abdication ceremony as a state act by the Emperor that requires the cabinet’s advice and approval.
The preparatory committee is expected to discuss ways to ensure that an abdication ceremony does not violate Article 4 of the Constitution, which prohibits the Emperor from holding powers related to government.