Japanese emperor to deliver televised abdication message
Tokyo, Aug 7 (IANS) Japanese Emperor Akihito is set to deliver a televised message on Monday about his desire to abdicate, which would require significant changes to the country’s constitution.
The development comes after Japanese media outlets, citing sources from the Imperial Household Agency, reported that the 82-year-old emperor plans to hand over the Chrysanthemum Throne to his eldest son Naruhito, 56, due to his old age and failing health, Efe news agency reported.
The ten-minute address, set to be aired at 3 p.m., will be a pre-recorded transmission, reported Kyodo news agency.
Since the current constitution does not include provisions for succession while the monarch is still alive, the emperor is expected to avoid any direct reference to an abdication.
Instead he will explain his intentions to the Japanese people in terms of his concerns over how he will discharge his duties in the future.
The Japanese emperor’s health has deteriorated in recent years after he underwent a coronary bypass surgery in 2012.
That came after a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2003, following which he developed osteoporosis as a result of hormonal therapy.
Japan’s Succession Act does not include a provision for abdication and will require an amendment to specify that the position will go to Naruhito after his father steps down.
The monarch has only appeared on television to address the nation once before on March 16, 2011, following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country’s northeast and triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.