Monthly Archives: June 2017

Dance Performance by Disabled

On 10th June, HIH Princess Kiko and HIH Princess Kako of Akishino attended the oepning ceremony of the dance concert performed by disabled people took place in Tokyo.

Photo from Asahi


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Ishikawa Visit of Crown Prince

From 9th to 10th June, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito visited Ishikawa Prefecture to attend the 28th All Japan Green Protection Meeting.

Photo from Sankei1 and 2

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Luncheon with Officers

On 9th June, HM Emperor Akihito and HIH Prince Fumihito of Akishino attended the luncheon with the Heads of the Board of Audit, the National Personnel Authority, the Fair Trade Commission and Nuclear Regulation Authority took place at Imperial Palace.

Photo from Asahi and Sankei

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[NEWS] Diet enacts abdication law for Emperor Akihito

Text from Japan Times

The Diet enacted a special single-use law Friday that will allow Emperor Akihito, 83, to abdicate due to his advanced age, paving the way for Crown Prince Naruhito, 57, to rise to the Imperial throne.

His abdication, which is expected to take place at the end of 2018, would be Japan’s first in about 200 years, since current law only allows Imperial succession to take place when an emperor dies.

The government will decide on the timing by issuing an ordinance.

The abdication will usher in a change in Japan’s era name, or nengo. Japan concurrently uses both Western and traditional calendar systems. The current nengo is called Heisei 29, which refers to the 29th year of the era of Emperor Akihito.

The special abdication law emerged after Emperor Akihito hinted at his desire to step down in a rare televised video message aired last August that cited concerns his advanced age was interfering with his public duties.

On Friday, the Upper House enacted the law with support from almost all of the major parties.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters afterward that the process of legalizing the first abdication in modern Japan reminded him of its significance in relation to the “fundamentals of the nation, its long history and future.”

“A stable succession of the Imperial throne is a momentous issue. The government will advance debate with respect for the resolution,” he said.

The public’s attention is now likely to shift to the event’s timing, and whether Abe’s Cabinet will carry out any other reforms to the Imperial succession system.

Concerns over the sustainability of the male-only succession system have been growing because the Imperial family only has one young heir, Prince Hisahito, age 10.

The other seven unmarried children are all females, and six are in their 20s and 30s. Under the Imperial Law, women are obliged to abandon their Imperial status if they marry a commoner.

“The number of Imperial family members is decreasing because of the marriage of female members and other reasons,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a special Upper House session on the legislation Wednesday.

“Considering the ages of the Imperial family members, this is an important problem that we cannot shelve,” he said.

Many politicians and intellectuals have called for drafting legislation to allow a female to become a reigning empress and establish a branch in the Imperial system even if she marries a commoner.

But Abe is reportedly reluctant to carry out such a drastic reform because many conservative politicians want to retain the traditional male-only, paternal-line succession system.

Abe “strongly prefers” the current system, a close aide said.

During Wednesday’s session, Suga said Abe’s Cabinet “will firmly maintain” male-only succession.

The Imperial House Law says the Imperial throne shall be succeeded only “by male offspring in the male line belonging to the Imperial lineage.” This means a successor should be a male whose father is from the Imperial family.

For example, even if Princess Aiko, 15, a granddaughter of Emperor Akihito and the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, marries a commoner and gives birth to a boy, the child would not be qualified to ascend the throne because his father is from outside the Imperial family.

Liberal intellectuals and lawmakers have called for reform to allow a female from the Imperial family’s maternal line — or a female whose mother, not father, is from the Imperial family — to ascend throne in light of the growing concerns and the gender equality guaranteed by the postwar Constitution.

Experts say that Imperial succession will be extremely unstable in the long term without major reform.

According to a 2005 government panel on the Imperial succession system, about half of Japan’s 125 emperors — though the first several were believed to be mythical — were children born to a concubine or their descendants.

This means the Imperial family, which is believed to be the world’s oldest monarchy, was maintained for hundreds of years thanks to the concubine system, which was effectively abolished by Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa (1901-1989).

“It will be extremely difficult to maintain stable Imperial succession” based on the male-only, paternal blood-line system, the 2005 report read.

Meanwhile, some conservative intellectuals and politicians have argued that the male succession system be maintained by reviving the Imperial status of 11 branch families that were deprived of their privileges by reforms after Japan’s defeat in World War II.

During Wednesday’s Upper House session, independent lawmaker and former Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa argued that it would be a “very effective” reform to revive the Imperial status of those families.

But the 2005 report argued that it is unclear how many of those descendants would consent.

The panel also pointed out that those families are very distant relatives of the Imperial family, whose shared ancestors date back to about 600 years ago.

“It is considered difficult to win the nation’s acceptance” on reviving the Imperial status of those families, the report said.

Photo from KYODO

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Remembering Prince Katsura

On 8th June, the members of Imperial Family attended the memorial service to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the death of late Prince Katsura took place at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery.

Photo from Asahi

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Bhutan Visit of Princess Mako

From 31st May to 8th June, HIH Princess Mako of Akishino visited Kingdom of Bhutan and Singapore. HRH Princess Euphelma Choden Wangchuck, the sister of HM King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck welcomed HIH Princess Mako at the Airport.

On 2nd June, HIH Princes Mako met with HM King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and HM Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck. Their Majesties visited Japan in 2011 as the State Guests.

On 4th June, HIH Princess Mako attended the Bhutan Flower Exhibition with Their Majesties the King and the Queen.

On 6th June, HIH Princess Mako visited Taktsang Monastery.

On 7th June, HIH Princess Mako left Bhutan from Palo International Airport.

On 8th June, HIH Princess Mako arrived at Tokyo International Airport.

Photo from Asahi1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

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Osaka Visit of Prince Akishino

From 7th to 8th June, HIH Prince Fumihito of Akishino visited Osaka Prefecture to attend the 52nd Gereral Meeting of Japan Association of Botanical Gardens.

Photo from Sankei

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Remembering Prince Tomohito

On 6th June, the members of Imperial Family attended the memorial service to commemorate the 5th anniversary of late Prince Tomohito of Mikasa took place at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in Tokyo.

HIH Princess Yuriko of Mikasa

Ms Sayako Kuroda (L) and Ms Noriko Senge (R)

Photo from Asahi

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Prime Minister of Viet Nam

On 6th June, HM Emperor Akihiito and HM Empress Michiko met with HE Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and his wife at Imperial Residence.

Photo from Asahi

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Fukuoka Visit of Akishino Couple

From 3rd to 4th June, HIH Prince Fumihito and HIH Princess Kiko of Akishino visited Fukuoka Prefecture to attend the ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Japanese Federation of the Deaf.

Photo from Sankei

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