Emperor Akihito expresses doubts about age, health
wsj.com -- Aug 08
Japanese Emperor Akihito said Monday that ongoing issues of age and health could make it difficult for him to carry out his official duties, potentially paving the way for his abdication and the most significant change to the imperial system in the postwar era.

"When the Emperor has ill health and his condition becomes serious, I am concerned that, as we have seen in the past, society comes to a standstill and people's lives are impacted in various ways," the 82-year-old emperor said in a prerecorded speech broadcast in Japan on Monday afternoon. It was only the second time that the emperor released such a video message, following a statement of condolences in the aftermath of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.

Although Japanese media have reported that the emperor wishes to abdicate, he refrained from directly saying so in Monday's message. Under Japan's constitution, the emperor holds no political power. Some officials have expressed concern that if Emperor Akihito directly called for a change to the law to permit his abdication, it could represent unconstitutional interference in the political process.

Current law says only that imperial succession happens after the death of an emperor, and it has no stipulation for abdication.

The last time an emperor abdicated was in 1817. Since Japan's current constitution took effect in 1947, establishing the emperor as the "symbol of the state," there has been little change to the imperial system. Under the law, succession passes through the male line only. Women cannot take the throne and must leave the imperial family when they marry.

Next in line to the throne is Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, followed by his younger brother, Prince Akishino, 50.

Emperor Akihito has had health problems and has cut back on his official duties in recent years. In 2003, he was treated for prostate cancer. In 2012, he underwent heart surgery.

News source: wsj.com
Dec 14
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 72-year-old man over the alleged molestation of a fourth-year middle school girl in a parking lot in Edogawa Ward earlier this year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 14
Kanagawa Prefectural Police have launched a manhunt after a stabbing in Sagamihara City on Tuesday left one man dead, reports TBS News (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 13
A window from a US military helicopter has fallen onto the grounds of an elementary school in Okinawa, Japan's southern prefecture. (NHK)
Dec 12
The American husband of a former Japanese abductee has died at the age of 77. (NHK)
Dec 10
Kanagawa Prefectural Police have arrested a 38-year-old man from Hiratsuka City for allegedly abducting a middle school student in Aomori Prefecture and confining her at his residence for two months, reports Jiji Press (Dec. 8). (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 10
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a 33-year-old man suspected in 100 purse-snatching incidents over the past few moths in the northern part of the capital, reports the Sankei Shimbun (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 10
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday raided an office of extremist group Chukaku-ha in Edogawa Ward over harboring a wanted activist, reports TV Asahi (tokyoreporter.com)
Dec 10
Police in Hokkaido said Saturday they had arrested three of the crew members of a North Korean fishing boat on suspicion of plundering a remote fishing hut. (Japan Today)
Dec 10
Romance and love are inseparable components of the most sincere and deepest feelings people can experience. (j4l.com)
Dec 09
Japanese Crown Princess Masako said she feels humbled thinking about her future, after Emperor Akihito's abdication was formally set for April 30, 2019. (Jiji)