No, Japan's Emperor isn't stepping down (but he might want to)


The Emperor Speaks

In a rare national TV address, Akihito, the current Emperor of Japan, spoke frankly about his declining health and hinted that he may want to stand down from the Chrysanthemum Throne someday. This came after weeks of rumors that the 82-year-old Emperor (and head of the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world) had been planning to abdicate. At this time there exists no legal provision for a sitting Japanese Emperor to give up the throne while alive.

In his address, he said, "As I consider the decline in my fitness, I worry that it may become difficult for me to do as I have done until now, carrying out my duties as the symbol of the state with my entire being."

And though he did not abdicate, Akihito did raise the possibility of appointing a regent to take on more of his duties as his health declined. Such a role would likely fall to 56-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito, who in recent years has already substituted for his father in some roles. However it happens, the ascension of Naruhito to the Chrysanthemum Throne could raise new issues, as he and Crown Princess Masako have no male heirs. This wrinkle could revive the debate over removing 19th-century legal barriers barring women from inheriting the throne.

[Photo courtesy of The Telegraph]

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures



Filed under... #japan #news #politics #weird news



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