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Gov’t considers 10-day holiday period around 2019 imperial succession

(Source: japantoday.com)

Emperor Akihito and his son Crown Prince Naruhito who will succeed him next May 1.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday the government is considering designating May 1 next year, when Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the throne, as a one-off holiday, in a move that would create a 10-day Golden Week holiday period.

Abe also said a ritual marking the promotion of Prince Fumihito, the younger son of Emperor Akihito, to first in line to the throne will be held on April 19, 2020, about a year after his father will become the first living Japanese monarch to step down in about 200 years.

“We will thoroughly prepare for (a series of rites) so that all the people can celebrate,” Abe told the first meeting of a government committee to work out the details of ceremonies for the imperial succession.

Japanese law stipulates that a weekday sandwiched by national holidays automatically becomes a public holiday.

In 2019, April 29 and May 3-6 are already assigned as national and public holidays. If May 1 is designated as a national holiday, April 30 and May 2 would become public holidays, resulting in the rare 10-day vacation period beginning April 27, which falls on a Saturday.

The prime minister said the government is also considering setting Oct 22 next year as a one-off national holiday, as an enthronement ceremony will be held that day for the 58-year-old new emperor.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a press conference the government will submit a bill necessary to designate the holidays “as soon as possible” to the Diet, possibly to an extraordinary session to be convened later in the month.

For Prince Fumihito, also widely known as Prince Akishino, the Rikkoshi no Rei ritual will be organized to notify the public that the 52-year-old prince has become koshi, the title given to the first in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

The state occasion will be held for the first time because the new title was created for the younger brother, rather than the son, of the new emperor under special legislation enabling the abdication of Emperor Akihito, 84, who signaled his wish to retire due to advanced age and failing health.

The Imperial House Law stipulates only males can ascend the throne in the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy. Crown Prince Naruhito only has a daughter — the 16-year old Princess Aiko.

The government committee headed by Abe will decide on the outlines of the imperial succession rites, drawing on the precedents following the 1989 death of Emperor Akihito’s father Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa.

Other major state occasions include Taiirei Seiden no Gi, in which the emperor will extend his last words to the chiefs of the three branches of the government on the day of his abdication, and Sokuirei Seiden no Gi, or the enthronement ceremony for the new emperor to be attended by guests from home and abroad.

The government will also sponsor a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the enthronement of Emperor Akihito on Feb 24 next year.

© KYODO

More Info: japantoday.com

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