politics

Diet proposes one-off abdication law for emperor

28 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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28 Comments
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So...don't make a habit of it?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

One off makes no sense neither from the logical standing, nor from law one. If you have a law, you either uphold it or not. What was so "critical" that time and why can not it be as "critical" in the future? Making exceptions off law is, if anything, irrensposible. Write sensible laws or suffer the unsensible ones with dignity.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The Emperor is a free individual human being, and should be able to do what he wants. However, he seems to be a slave.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

"So...don't make a habit of it?"

They don't want to create a precedent and make it too easy for a future royal family member to call it quits when the stress gets to be too much. Make them feel as if they are obligated for life.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

gokai_wo_manekuMAR. 18, 2017 - 07:53AM JST The Emperor is a free individual human being, and should be able to do what he wants. However, he seems to be a slave.

Not quite a slave, but most certainly under the control of others, and not just since the war. The Japanese emperor has never had anything close to the dictatorial powers and control one assumes goes with being a hereditary monarch.

paulinusaMAR. 18, 2017 - 07:54AM JST They don't want to create a precedent and make it too easy for a future royal family member to call it quits when the stress gets to be too much. Make them feel as if they are obligated for life.

Yes! Just think of what it would do to the social fabric if an aged and tired figurehead could actually retire when he saw fit. Heaven forbid that these otherwise powerless people have any control over their own lives.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I just have the feeling it should be the Emperor telling the Government what to do and not the inverse...

As for a "female emperor" I believe they're called Empresses... and they have certainly existed - even in Japan !

8 ( +8 / -0 )

If you have a law, you either uphold it or not.

Point is there IS no law, not for nor against allowing abdication. The absence of something does not automatically mean it can not happen.

The Emperor has graciously given the government the time to work this out, he could have just walked out if he wanted, but he didn't.

I would like to think that the Emperor himself is not pleased with this "one off" ruling either, he is not dumb man, and he knows the problems with succession and I would like to think he wanted his granddaughters to have the opportunity to be Empress as well.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I would love to see this man just write a resignation letter that reads only: So in conclusion I'm outta here. DEAL WITH IT!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

so what happens if the next Emporer wants to abdicate? why does this Emporer have preferential treatment over future ones. That's the problem with Japan, they do everything with a half-arsed effort and expect to get premium results. You cant please everybody. Until this mindest changes Japan will forever be stuck in the past / limbo. Culture is the biggest hinderance to progress.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So let it be written, so let it be done.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Making exceptions off law is, if anything, irrenspo[n]sible...

They do not think it as an exception. Rather, they consider it as a legal precedence that opens up a way for future emperor to abdicate. The reasoning behind it was that (1) it is a job for the representative of the people (government) to make an appropriate decision at each time and (2) by so doing, the idea of "Emperor as a Symbol of all Japanese People" will gain understanding and shared by the people (of time).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Imperial family has rights just like anyone else, therefore they should be able to call it quits and abandon this overtaxed outdated system that does nothing for anyone except put tax money in this system. Let them be like everyone else it is 2017 afterall, end the entire system. This is not pre 14 century.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I just have the feeling it should be the Emperor telling the Government what to do and not the inverse...

No. That's not possible under the constitutional monarchy. Japanese Emperor is not above the laws, which are made only by the representatives (government) of the common people. If the Emperor is allowed to tell government (law makers) what to do, then he would be above the laws. And that's absolutely not allowed in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The reasoning behind it was that (1) it is a job for the representative of the people (government) to make an appropriate decision at each time and (2) by so doing, the idea of "Emperor as a Symbol of all Japanese People" will gain understanding and shared by the people (of time).

A job? If that is how it is viewed, then by extension, us common folk should be dedicated to our "jobs" and follow in the Emperor's footsteps and work until we "die" on the job.

Even us common folks get to retire, he should too.

Problem though it isn't a job, and as the symbolic head of state, Abe and company, can not believe that anyone in THAT position, as the head of Japan, WOULD want to retire. They cant wrap their minds around that idea, because maybe to them the Emperor is still "divine". And you can stop being "divine" until you die.

That's not possible under the constitutional monarchy. Japanese Emperor is not above the laws,

True, but not all the laws that apply to you and me apply to him either, and vice-versa as well. I get your point though.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What factions/ bureaucrats are opposed to the abdication.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The term 'precedent' springs to mind.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What factions/ bureaucrats are opposed to the abdication

Abe, the LDP as a whole, and the folks that support the reversion of Japan to the time when Japan was ruled by a "divine" and not human Emperor!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Japanese emperor has never had anything close to the dictatorial powers.

The Emperor in fact has the most dictatorial power even after the war. The law requires his attestation, which means a lot. The govt makes decisions that would be within the range of Emperor's attestation.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Even us common folks get to retire, he should too...

Yes, that is about to be possible by the new proposed laws.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bjohnson23:

I happen to think that a reserve executive monarchy (as in the UK, Canada, Australia, etc) and a non-executive monarchy (as in Sweden and Japan) have a stabilizing effect on the country. Remember, South Korea chose a republic - when did they finally achieve democracy (hint: almost 40 years after the war). South Korea currently has a semi-presidential system (similar to France) and just impeached and chucked out their president. In Japan (and in every reserve executive and non-executive monarchy), the head of state is the symbol of the nation and is above politics. They are the unifier of the country. The hatred is directed at the current govt (cabinet and prime minister) while the monarch is beloved and apolitical by most. I think that during the 50s or 60s, if Japan had been made a presidential republic as in the US, an anti-communist dictatorship would've been implemented; if a semi-presidential republic as in South Korea were chosen, the same as above or the military would've taken over and installed a new president; if parliamentary republic as in Germany, much more stable but prime minister could always take over office of president if incapacitated or deceased and create a super presidential system (title like fuhrer) - if law says he cannot, he'd have rewritten, as in Turkey.

To further reiterate my point, France is the longest lasting semi-presidential republic, Russia has seen the president in this system gain more powers when his party was in power (ie naming governors instead of having them elected), and South Korea is, well, you can read the history on that. Finland in the last 2 decades has moved away from semi-presidentialism and towards a parliamentary republic. Just my 2 cents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Emperor in fact has the most dictatorial power even after the war.

No. In Japan there is a separation between authority (権威) and power (権力). The Emperor has authority but not power. The Emperor in Japan, unlike Kings in other countries, cannot be a dictatorial power because of this separation.

The latest incident of the Japan's Emperor's wish to abdicate illustrates this situation. The Emperor cannot even abdicate on his own because there is no law that allows him, and he cannot make any law (that is, he has no political power). So the responsibility is on the side of government (law makers) to create a new law to allow him to do so. Then and only then he can abdicate (according to the law made by common people).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The law requires his attestation, which means a lot.

It means nothing. The Tenno has not the option of refusing to put his stamp on any law. He has the same amount of power and freedom as a girl in AKB or Morning Musume. But well, at his age, it's tough...

South Korea currently has a semi-presidential system (similar to France) and just impeached and chucked out their president.

For good reasons. When elected representants misbehave, the electors can make them go. It was very complicated Spain to get rid of their infamous king and his daughter. What would Japan do if some Imperials became criminals ?

during the 50s or 60s, if Japan had been made a presidential republic as in the US, an anti-communist dictatorship would've been implemented;

It was implemented.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@socrateos

The latest incident of the Japan's Emperor's wish to abdicate illustrates this situation. The Emperor cannot even abdicate on his own because there is no law that allows him, and he cannot make any law (that is, he has no political power). So the responsibility is on the side of government (law makers) to create a new law to allow him to do so.

See? The govt is making efforts to accommodate Emperor's wishes.

@coscuri

The Tenno has not the option of refusing to put his stamp on any law.

He does not have to refuse because the govt brings before him things that are only acceptable for the Emperor. That is attestation power.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes, that is about to be possible by the new proposed laws.

No, it's only THIS Emperor, any and all SHOULD have the same opportunity. Abe just does not want to face the possibility of having to deal with the archaic laws regarding succession, hence them coming up with this "one-time" agreement.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No, it's only THIS Emperor, any and all SHOULD have the same opportunity. Abe just does not want to face the possibility of having to deal with the archaic laws regarding succession, hence them coming up with this "one-time" agreement.

Abe would not be in office or may not be alive when the next emperor starts considering abdication. As for "Archaic" law, since it is written within the constitution stating that the Emperor is the symbol of Japan stipulated on article one, any and all PM will not want to challenge it since they will actually have to hold a nation wide referendum to change such a major issue.

The bottom line Abe could be impeached if he goes over the line creating a law that defies challenges the constitution in changing the status quo the position of the Emperor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

See? The govt is making efforts to accommodate Emperor's wishes....

Government rules are compulsory. If you do not obey, you will be punished by force. That's a political power. Emperors wishes are voluntary in nature. There is no punishment for those who do not agree with. The Emperor does not have force to make his wishes compulsory. This is the distinction between (political) power and (symbolic) authority.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A one off law is a sensible and logical solution to what is a much more complex issues than people seem to realise. Finding a balance between hard line right wing Imperial fanatics and moderate liberals has always been a problem in Japanese politics and is unlikely to ever really go away. One side cant move with our infuriating the other which never goes down well with the people in general. Regardless of their being a majority consensus that He should abdicate it will mean nothing to the traditionalists who want maintain the status quo and even increase His powers.

By proposing a one off , once in a generation law it manages to calm the traditionalists by saying:

"Just this once, as it is His decree to go after all, but were not going to make a habit of it"

And also at the same time to the liberals by saying:

"Were happy to give in to his wishes and let him retire"

Also, a one off law avoids any complicated constitutional amendments that would likely drag on for years with limited chance of success. However I wont be too surprised, if the law passes, that some traditionalists will challenge it in the courts as not being Constitutional? Ah the joy of Japanese political wrangling!

Banzai for The Emperor

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Coscuri:

Please tell me what years between 1950 and 1960 there was a dictatorship in Japan. The dictatorship you may be referring to is the period from the late 20s to the end of WW2. The emperor at this point had the same de facto power as the British monarch does now (reserve executive powers). He could have removed Tojo and the other militarists, but possibly feared a military revolt or that the people had chosen them democratically and he should not interfere (similar to the Queen selecting the leader of the majority party as prime minister in the UK, rather than her own choice). Cheers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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