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Politics

No constitutional issue with Emperor's address: Imperial agency chief

TOKYO -- Emperor Akihito's indirect plea for retirement in a video message "did not mention any specific systems, so there are no constitutional problems," the grand steward of the Imperial Household Agency told reporters Wednesday.

Current law does not allow for abdication, which leaves the matter in the government's hands. As such, some argue that Monday's comments run afoul of a constitutional provision barring the emperor from involvement in government. But Emperor Akihito simply "expressed his individual feelings based on his long experience as symbol" of the state, Noriyuki Kazaoka argued.

Since the emperor has no desire for a lighter workload, the agency is not considering that option, Kazaoka said.

The grand steward also discussed the public reaction to the address. "Many members of the public likely listened to His Majesty's honest feelings on his position as a symbol and the significance of his duties with great interest," he said.

(Nikkei)

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