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Friday, May 19, 2017

Japan cabinet approves Emperor Akihito abdication bill Friday May 19,2017

The Japanese Government has approved a one-off bill that allows ageing Emperor Akihito to step down from the Chrysanthemum Throne in what would be the first such abdication in two centuries.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet signed off on the legislation on Friday May 19,2017, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told

The bill will now be sent to parliament, where it is expected to pass.

"The government hopes for the smooth passage of the legislation," Suga said.

Reports of the 83-year-old Akihito's desire to retire surprised Japan when they emerged July 2016.
"When the emperor first hinted that we might think about his abdication, most people were shocked because we were not prepared to hear that, but now many Japanese people support his idea," Yoshiki Mine, president of Institute for Peaceful Diplomacy in Tokyo, told

Akihito, who has had heart surgery and prostate cancer treatment, said in rare public remarks last year he feared age might make it hard for him to fulfil his duties.

But current Japanese law has no provision for abdication, thus requiring politicians to craft legislation to make it possible.

The bill is one-off legislation that would allow only Akihito to step down, with no provisions for future emperors, but Mine said he believed it could serve as a sort of precendent

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