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Agency mulls easing new emperor’s duties

  • JAPAN NEWS / YOMIURI

    The Emperor and Empress, front right; Crown Prince Naruhito, center; and Prince Akishino, rear left, are seen at an Imperial garden party at the Akasaka Imperial Gardens in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO >> The Imperial Household Agency is considering reducing the number of events attended by the new emperor and koshi, the equivalent of the crown prince, following the transfer of the throne scheduled to take place in a year’s time, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Among the official duties carried out by the emperor, the crown prince and Prince Akishino last year, as many as 670 activities involved meeting people and attending events. The agency believes it would be difficult for the emperor’s children to continue carrying out all the activities after the planned abdication.

The emperor met people and attended official events at the Imperial Palace and elsewhere on about 340 occasions last year.

The crown prince had about 180 such events, while Prince Akishino had about 150.

Following the planned transfer to the new emperor, the crown prince will take over the regular events that have been attended by the emperor, such as the national athletic meet and national memorial service for the war dead, in addition to acts in matters of state and court rituals.

The events attended by the crown prince will be taken over by Prince Akishino.

The emperor’s younger brother Prince Hitachi is 82 years old, and Prince Akishino’s son, Hisahito, is 11 years old. This leaves no male Imperial family member to whom Prince Akishino could delegate some of the events that he attends.

Taking this into consideration, the agency is considering whether it is possible to integrate some events that will be attended by the Emperor’s children after the abdication, as well as limit their attendance at such events to special occasions, according to sources.

The Imperial Household Agency will review the events and take into consideration the wishes of the emperor’s children.

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