TOKYO -- Imperial heirlooms belonging to the Emperor of Japan, including the Three Sacred Treasures, were declared exempt from gift taxes to facilitate the 2019 succession.
Heirlooms including the Three Sacred Treasures, also known as the Imperial Regalia of Japan, have been handed down to successive emperors for millennia. The three treasures consist of the sword Kusanagi no Tsurugi, the mirror Yata no Kagami and the jewel Yasakani no Magatama. The sacred treasures are never shown in public. During the abdication and succession ceremonies around the 2019 era change, the sword and jewels were presented in wrapped boxes.
Imperial treasures are prescribed under the Imperial Household Finance Act as items of historical significance that must be passed down with the Imperial Throne to the next emperor, exempting them from inheritance tax.
Until now the law included no provision for their transference by abdication. A newly created special measures law allowing then Emperor Akihito to abdicate states that specifically for the 2019 succession, Imperial treasures are exempt from gift tax obligations.
The Imperial Household Agency recognizes around 600 articles as items of historical significance. Aside from the Three Sacred Treasures, they include the Three Palace Sanctuaries at the Imperial Palace used for rituals and ceremonies, and handwritten documents by previous emperors.
(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Takashima, City News Department)