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Japan abdication panel set to back one-time exception

Deep rifts remain over proper legal procedures for Akihito to step down

Takashi Imai, honorary chair of the Japan Business Federation, center, heads a government-appointed panel Wednesday.

TOKYO -- A government-appointed panel concluded Wednesday that Emperor Akihito should be allowed to step down, with plans to recommend a one-time legal exception in a January report given the complexities of creating a permanent framework on abdication.

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