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Japan to grant amnesty to some 550,000 to mark Emperor's enthronement: LDP exec

Shunichi Suzuki, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party General Council, speaks at a news conference at the party headquarters in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward in this file photo taken on Sept. 11, 2019. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Maruyama)

TOKYO -- The government is expected to grant amnesty to approximately 550,000 convicts in line with the enthronement ceremony for Emperor Naruhito on Oct. 22, the chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) top decision-making body said.

LDP General Council Chairman Shunichi Suzuki revealed the government's plan at a news conference on Oct. 15.

Suzuki said amnesty to be granted to convicts this time will be on a smaller scale to that implemented when the Showa era (1926-1989) changed to the Heisei era (1989-2019). "More than 10 million people were granted amnesty in 1989 and 2.5 million people were pardoned in 1990," he said.

There are two kinds of amnesty -- one to be implemented under a government order stipulating the scope of penalties and offenses subject to the measure and one to be given to those who are not pardoned under the government order by drawing up special criteria.

This time, amnesty in accordance with a government order will be limited to lifting restrictions on licenses or qualifications for those who were fined for offenses three years ago or earlier. Those fined are banned from obtaining physician, nursing and other licenses for five years.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Akihiro Nishimura notified the General Council of the plan on the upcoming amnesty at a meeting earlier on Oct. 15. The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will officially approve the plan on Oct. 18.

This will be the first time for the government to grant amnesty to convicts on the occasions of congratulations and condolences since the wedding of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako in June 1993, and the 11th under the postwar Constitution.

(Japanese original by Yusuke Kaite, Political News Department)

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