Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

JAPAN ; Emperor to Address Public by Video; Message to Address

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

JAPAN ; Emperor to Address Public by Video; Message to Address

Article excerpt

TOKYO - Japan's Emperor Akihito will issue a rare video message to the public Monday amid speculation he wants to abdicate in the coming years. Akihito in his recorded message will convey his thoughts about his official duties as a symbol, his status stipulated by the constitution, an Imperial Household Agency official said Friday on condition of anonymity, citing sensitivity of the issue.

Akihito is expected to avoid explicit reference to abdication, a step not written in imperial law and that would require a legal process he cannot request.

The video would be only the second message Akihito has delivered to the public in his life, the first one expressing sympathy and support for survivors days after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan.

The possibility of abdication surprised many Japanese last month when NHK public television reported that Akihito had expressed his intention to do so in the next few years.

At 82, Akihito still performs public duties including attending ceremonies, receiving foreign dignitaries and traveling in and out of Japan. …

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