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Specific year mulled for emperor's abdication to ensure one-time use of law

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Baku, October 7, AZERTAC

A special law the government is working on may specify the year Emperor Akihito is to step down, it has been learned, according to The Japan Times.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe thinks that specifying the timing of the abdication will ensure the law can only apply to the current emperor, sources said Friday.

The government is leery of overhauling the law because it would lead to prolonged debate on the Imperial system — including on whether to let women ascend the throne.

In a rare nationwide address in August, the Emperor, 82, suggested he hopes to hand the throne to Crown Prince Naruhito in the near future due to the difficulty of completing his duties. But there is no legal framework for this.

While the government wants a one-time law, there are also calls to create a permanent abdication system by revising the Imperial House Law to prevent one-off political bids to replace emperors.

Advocates also insist it would be legally unfair to give only the current emperor the freedom to step down.

Taking into account the Emperor's advanced age, the Abe administration hopes to conclude discussions on the abdication matter as soon as possible, the sources said.

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