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Dual authority a concern for abdication panel

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, received from Takashi Imai, head of a panel of experts commissioned by Abe, the panel’s final report on a special law for Emperor Akihito’s abdication process at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on Friday.

A government expert panel studying how to ease the burden of the emperor’s public duties released its final report Friday. Through the report, the panel considered how not to interpret the emperor’s abdication as a violation of the Constitution, which prohibits the emperor having power over government affairs, while indicating strong concern about the appearance of a “duality of authority” as a result of an abdication.

In the final report, an expression calling for “the avoidance of a duality of the symbol and authority” was repeated as many as nine times. The panel stressed that it weighed this point and considered an appropriate title for the current emperor after his abdication and whether to make it possible for him to assume the post of regent.

A number of experts who are cautious about abdication expressed their concern over the appearance of dual authority during hearing sessions last year and on other occasions.

But regarding the possibility of the appearance of dual authority, the final report only said that “it depends on what kind of activities (the emperor) will be engaged in after (his) abdication,” and did not go as far as referring in detail to what activities he should engage in. A person related to the panel said, “We can’t go so far as asking him to refrain from activities as much as possible after abdication.”

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