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Japan to consider Imperial succession issue after November: Suga

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun here on April 24 that the government will consider measures to secure the stability of Imperial succession after November, following a series of rituals related to the enthronement of the new emperor.

An additional resolution to the special law that allows Emperor Akihito to abdicate requests that the government consider the succession issue as soon as possible after the law is enforced on April 30. Suga commented, "We want to advance the discussion in compliance with the resolution without procrastination."

After Crown Prince Naruhito ascends to the Imperial Throne on May 1, a series of rituals will continue through November. The Sokuirei-Seiden-no-Gi ceremony, in which the new emperor proclaims the enthronement to Japan and the rest of the world, is scheduled for Oct. 22 and the Daijosai ceremony (Great Thanksgiving Festival following Enthronement) is slated for Nov. 14 and 15.

"Our first priority is to dedicate ourselves to successfully hold rituals related to the enthronement including Daijosai," commented Suga on the timing to initiate deliberations on the succession issue.

The additional resolution demands the government consider allowing the establishment of branch houses headed by female Imperial Family members for the stability of Imperial succession. However, conservatives who are the main supporters of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are against this idea.

Abe previously insisted reinstating male descendants in the male line from houses which left the Imperial Family under the occupation of the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces (GHQ) after World War II. Regarding Abe's opinion, Suga limited himself to say, "We will discuss the matter later. I refrain from commenting."

(Japanese original by Katsuya Takahashi, Political News Department)

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