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Imperial Household Agency denies Emperor has expressed intention to abdicate

The Imperial Household Agency has denied that Emperor Akihito has expressed his intention to abdicate.

"It's absolutely untrue," said Shinichiro Yamamoto, vice grand steward of the agency.

Regarding whether the Emperor has made any mention of revisions to the Imperial House Act, Yamamoto said, "His Majesty has refrained from talking about the system because of his position. This will remain unchanged."

The prime minister's office has not officially admitted, either, that the Emperor has expressed his intention to abdicate.

The move is due largely to Article 4 of the Constitution which stipulates that the Emperor "shall not have powers related to government." Particular importance has been attached to this clause in the Imperial Household system in the postwar period.

As such, the Emperor and Crown Prince Naruhito refrained from making comments on the issue of whether to allow a female member of the Imperial Family and a member of the Imperial Family in the female line to accede to the throne, which was considered under the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

The Imperial Household Agency and other government bodies are cautious about the Emperor's intention to abdicate apparently for the same reasons.

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