Panel: Constitution, tradition should shape abdication ceremony

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - Consistency with the Constitution and the tradition of the Imperial family should be taken into consideration when discussing the ceremonies for the Emperor’s abdication and the crown prince’s accession to the throne, a member of the preparatory panel for the ceremonies said during its first meeting on Jan. 9. 

A summary of the proceedings of the meeting was released by the government on Tuesday on the Prime Minister’s Office’s homepage. The panel is chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.Covering four pages of A4-size paper, the summary included Suga’s greetings at the beginning, decisions on how to handle the proceedings and remarks by the panel members. The names of the speakers are not mentioned.

Members’ opinions included “Discussions should be promoted in consideration of two points — consistency with the Constitution and the tradition of the Imperial family” — and ceremonies for enthronement “were sufficiently discussed when the Heisei era started, and the same basic way of thinking and content should be utilized in the ceremonies this time,” according to the summary.   

Regarding Prince Akishino, who will become koshi denka, or first in line to the throne, following the Emperor’s abdication, a member said: “To clarify the fact that Prince Akishino will be in the same position as the crown prince, it is desirable for a ceremony that follows in the steps of Rittaishi-no-Rei to be held.”

This is a ceremony to make it clear both in Japan and overseas that the prince is the next in line to the throne. The panel plans to compile its basic policy by mid-March, and the next meeting is scheduled for mid-February. The government will make the proceedings public one week after the meeting.

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