Monthly Archives: December 2017

Remembering Prince Mikasa

On 5th December, HM Emperor Akihito and HM Empress Michiko visited the grave of late Prince Mikasa (1915-2016) at Toshimagaoka Imperial Cemetery in Tokyo.

HIH Princess Yuriko and HIH Princess Yoko of Mikasa welcomed Their Majesties at the grave.

Photo from Sankei


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Wakayama Visit of Akishino Family

On 5th December, HIH Prince Fumihito, HIH Princess Kiko and HIH Prince Hisahito of Akishino visited the biological museum in Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture.

Photo from Asahi


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International Prize for Biology

On 4th December, HM Emperor Akihito and HM Empress Michiko attended the 33rd award ceremony of International Prize for Biology and the reception took place in Tokyo.

Photo from Asahi


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Ikebana International

On 4th December, HIH Princess Hisako of Takamado attended the meeting of Ikebana International took place in Tokyo.
HIH Princess Hisako is the Honorary President of Ikebana International.

Photo from Asahi


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Supporting Urban Greening

On 4th December, HIH Princess Mako of Akishino attended the 1st commendation ceremony of urban greening took place in Tokyo.

Photo from Asahi


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Princess Mako’s Workplace

On 2nd December, HM Emperor Akihito and HM Empress Michiko visited the museum “INTERMEDIATHEQUE” where HIH Princess Mako is working as aproject researcher.

Their Majesties and HIH Princess Mako

Photo from Asahi


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Emperor is to abdicate on April 30, 2019

On 1st December, the Imperial House Council was held at the special conference room of Imperial Household Agency to decide the date of the abdication of HM Emperor Akihito.

The Imperial House Council is consist of Two Imperial Family Members, the Speaker and Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the House of Councilors, the Prime Minister, the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency, and the Chief Justice and one other justice of the Supreme Court.

HIH Prince Masahito and HIH Princess Hanako of Hitachi attended the Council as the Imperial Family Members.

Council sets abdication of Emperor for April 30, 2019

Text from Japan News

The Emperor is to abdicate on April 30, 2019, the Imperial House Council decided at a meeting on Friday morning.

The meeting was held at a special conference room of the Imperial Household Agency’s building, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heard opinions about the date of abdication for the Emperor from the chiefs of both chambers of the Diet, Imperial family members and others. At the meeting, they decided the Emperor will abdicate on April 30, 2019 (the 31st year of the Heisei era).

Based on the opinion, the government will formally decide a government ordinance providing the date of abdication at a Cabinet meeting on Dec. 8.

The schedules of the “abdication on April 30, 2019, and the succession by the crown prince to the throne and the change of era on May 1, 2019,” were decided.

Japan is facing a great turning point with the abdication, the first such event in about 200 years since the abdication of Emperor Kokaku in 1817.

The meeting was held behind closed doors and lasted about an hour and 15 minutes from 9:45 a.m. to around 11 a.m. The inside of the conference room was shown to media outlets only just before the meeting began.

After the meeting, Abe reported the summary of the meeting’s results to the Emperor at the Imperial Palace. Subsequently, Abe told reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office, “The opinion of the Imperial House Council was decided smoothly, and I am quite impressed by the great progress made toward an Imperial succession.”

Abe also emphasized: “Based on the opinion of the Imperial House Council, we will swiftly establish a government ordinance providing the implementation date [of the special measures law on abdication]. At the same time, we will make all-out efforts to realize the smooth succession by the crown prince with the blessing of the people.” Abe also issued similar comments in a statement.

New era to start May 1

At the council, Abe asked each participant to express their opinions. Then, Abe proposed a plan favoring the “abdication on April 30, 2019, and succession by the crown prince on May 1, 2019,” which was decided based on political schedules, such as the unified local elections to be conducted in the spring of 2019.

While the government had considered a plan of the “abdication on March 31, 2019, and the change of era on April 1, 2019,” the government did not adopt the plan because many people will be relocating during that period due to corporate transfers and starting higher education.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga will report the opinion of the Imperial House Council to a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The government plans to decide a government ordinance providing the implementation date of the special measures law, or abdication date, at a Cabinet meeting Friday. After the abdication date is formally set, the government will start full discussions on the details of abdication and succession ceremonies. To this end, the government plans to establish a study panel headed by Suga as early as the beginning of next year. The new era name will be announced within next year before the abdication takes place.

Ten participants attended the meeting, including Abe, who chaired the meeting, House of Representatives Speaker Tadamori Oshima and Vice Speaker Hirotaka Akamatsu, House of Councillors President Chuichi Date and Vice President Akira Gunji, Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Shinichiro Yamamoto, Supreme Court Chief Justice Itsuro Terada and Supreme Court Justice Kiyoko Okabe. From the government, Suga also participated as a nonofficial member only to provide explanations.

From the Imperial family, Prince and Princess Hitachi attended the meeting. Prince Akishino, the original Imperial family member who was to attend the meeting, did not attend as the special measures law concerning the abdication involved his own status. Therefore, Prince Hitachi participated in the meeting.

A meeting of the Imperial House Council has not been held in 24 years, or since January 1993, when the marriage of Crown Prince Naruhito was decided. The special measures law to allow abdication only for the current Emperor makes it mandatory to hear the opinion of the Imperial House Council before deciding on the abdication date.

Under the Imperial House Law, the Imperial House Council is a state decision-making body to discuss important issues involving the Imperial family such as marriages of male Imperial family members and the appointment of a regent. Since the end of World War II, the council has held seven meetings — six for discussing marriages of male Imperial family members and one for the renouncement of Imperial status by Imperial branches. This was the first time for the council to discuss the Imperial succession. An outline of the meeting’s minutes will be disclosed later on.

Photo from Sankei1 and 2


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Duck Netting

On 1st December, HIH Princess Mako of Akishino and HIH Princess Hisako of Takamdo enjoyed the duck netting as the reception for the diplomatic missions resident in Japan took place at Saitama Kamoba in Saitama Prefecture.

Photo from Asahi


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Princess Aiko turns 16

On 1st December, HIH Princess Aiko turned 16 years old.

On 16th birthday, Princess Aiko says she’s enjoying school life and growing into Imperial role

Text from Japan Times

As Princess Aiko turned 16 on Friday, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako was said to be enjoying high school life and striving to better fulfill her role as a member of the Imperial family.

Over the past year, she has accompanied her parents on official duties and met members of foreign royal families. Her health has improved since last fall, when she appeared fatigued.

During a holiday in May, the princess showed strong interest watching a game of wheelchair basketball with her parents.

She also accompanied her parents’ greeting of Swedish Crown Princess Victoria, Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary, as well as Bhutan Princess Sonam Dechan Wangchuck during their visits to Japan, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

On the anniversaries of Japan’s surrender in World War II and the Great East Japan Earthquake, the princess observed moments of silence. She also listened to her parents’ accounts of their visit to disaster-hit Miyagi Prefecture in November.

The princess has attended Gakushuin Girls’ Senior High School since April, after graduating from the junior high school located on the same campus in Tokyo.

Due to fatigue, she was absent from junior high school for a six-week period last year, but her condition has improved over the past year, according to the agency.

The princess does not engage in any club activities, but was active in athletic meets and cultural festivals. She often talks to her parents about her school life, the agency said.

Princess Aiko is not eligible to ascend the throne, which is restricted to males under the Imperial House Law.

Photo from Asahi


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