Abdication ceremony to be held on April 30th, 2019
NHK -- Feb 21
The Japanese government says Emperor Akihito's abdication ceremony will be held next year on April 30th, the day he steps down, as a state event.

The panel headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is making arrangements for the Emperor's abdication on April 30th, 2019, and Crown Prince Naruhito's ascension on the following day.

Panel members approved a basic outline for the abdication ceremony at a meeting on Tuesday, after being briefed on the recommendations of experts, including former Supreme Court justice Itsuo Sonobe.

The plan says the ceremony will be conducted to widely inform people about the abdication. It will be the Emperor's last occasion before stepping down to meet the representative of the people, the prime minister.

In the ceremony, the prime minister will express words of appreciation to the Emperor on behalf of the people, and the Emperor will deliver a message to the nation.

Japanese law currently has no provisions for an abdication ceremony. The panel agreed to prepare the necessary legislation.

The plan also includes a celebration of the emperor's 30-year reign to be held at the National Theater in Tokyo next year in February, about 2 months before he steps down.

The panel says another state ceremony will be held in 2020 to commemorate the promotion of the Emperor's younger son, Prince Akishino, to the first in line to the throne.

News source: NHK
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