October 9, 2018
Tokyo- The Japanese government plans to decide at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to establish a committee overseeing a series of ceremonies related to Emperor Akihito's abdication and Crown Prince Naruhito's accession to the throne next year, Jiji Press learned Sunday.
The committee, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will hold its inaugural meeting as early as this week to market the start of full preparations by government ministries and agencies for the Imperial succession ceremonies, government sources said.
Emperor Akihito will step down on April 30, 2019, and Crown Prince Naruhito will succeed him the following day.
Beginning on April 30, a series of ceremonies will take place as acts of the Emperor in matters of state as set out in the constitution. They include "Taiirei Seiden no Gi," an abdication ceremony, "Kenji to Shokei no Gi," in which the new Emperor inherits the Imperial regalia and the state and privy seals, "Sokuigo Choken no Gi," in which he meets Japan's administrative, legislative and judicial heads for the first time, and "Sokuirei Seiden no Gi," the core ritual of enthronement ceremonies.
Established in the cabinet, the ceremony committee will serve as a control tower for preparatory work by ministries and agencies. It will hold a meeting about every month for the time being to draw up details of each ceremony.
When the secretariat for managing preparations for Imperial succession ceremonies was set up on Aug. 1, Abe said the government plans to make the coming events national ceremonies to showcase an era milestone.
The main topics of discussions at the ceremony committee are expected to include how to harmonize the tradition of the Imperial household with the status of the Emperor as the symbol of the state as defined in the constitution and how the burden of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess can be alleviated.
Along with the establishment of the ceremony committee, a liaison task force for the holding of Imperial succession ceremonies, headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, will be created in the Cabinet Office to play a coordinating role for ministries and agencies, according to the sources. Jiji Press
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