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Challenges to enacting legislation to allow abdication

  • August, 8, 2016
  • , NHK
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Monday night’s news programs highlighted the video message by Emperor Akihito calling for public understanding for his desire to abdicate, noting that the Abe administration is confronted with the paramount task of swiftly enacting legislation that permits abdication given the Emperor’s advanced age. In preparing legislation to discontinue the “emperor for life” system, the government needs to address three concerns about allowing the Emperor to step down: 1) whether a “dual power structure” could be created between the “living former emperor” and his successor; 2) whether future emperors could be forced to retire under political pressure; and 3) whether future emperors will be given free discretion to abdicate. As it will probably take several years to revise the Imperial House Law, the GOJ may choose to enact a special measures law that would only apply to Emperor Akihito. However, this approach may contradict the Emperor’s desire for “the duties of the Emperor as the symbol of the State to continue steadily without a break.”  

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