Japanese panel meets in order to decide the Emperor’s future
20 octubre, 2016
Emperor Akihito is willing to give up his throne due to health issues and his respectable age. However, it’s up to the panel to make a final decision.
An advisory panel has held its first meeting at the office of the Japanese Prime Minister Abe on the revision of the constitution in order to reduce the obligations of Emperor Akihito. This was a response to the request of the Emperor to abdicate in his speech in July.
The panel, consisting of experts from different universities, as well as the chairman of an influential business foundation, are to discuss and give insights to the current Japanese constitution. Building on this, the government has to find the points on which it wishes to make the actual changes. The government is aiming to forward formal proposals as early as the spring of next year.
Emperor Akihito, at the age of 82, stated in a rare speech this July that due to his fragile health it would be better for him as well as the whole of Japan that he would take a step back and let his son, Prince Naruhito, follow him up. A survey concluded that over 60% of the people are supporting the abdication.
The fact that there are no legal provisions for this in the constitution makes it clear how exceptional a possible abdication is in Japan. The reason, looking at the Shinto religion which has many followers in the country, could lie in their view that the Emperor and his family are descendants from one of the Gods.
Prime Minister Abe said that he “wishes to take the process slowly”, as he first wants the experts to take a good look, before making any rash decisions.
Emperor Akihito has been a very important person in Japan for the past few decades, he changed the country and has always enjoyed a lot of respect. Of course, the exceptional situation around the emperor has caused a rush of either positive, neutral and negative reactions. To give voice to the differences there are some tweets underneath that show the views towards the possible abdication of the emperor.
This compromising situation only leaves two different paths to follow, paths that may turn to be, eventually, a big change in Japan’s future. Will the Constitution be changed so that Prince Naruhito is able to take his father’s role right away? Or will the panel keep Emperor Akihito as the image of the country even though his health is really weak nowadays? It is a fact that the Japanese Constitution doesn’t take any steps on the abdication process, leaning on the divine roots of the Emperor, but the time to change it might have already come. It is not about tradition anymore, but about the condition of a human being and the future of a state.
Felix van Den Broeck, Sajeda Massoud, Philippe Felix, and Carla Martín