Published On: Tue, Apr 30th, 2019

Japan Emperor: Akihito ends reign after 30 years but Empress BANNED from attending ritual | World | News

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Emperor has become the first Emperor of Japan to abdicate in more than 200 years and his wife Empress has stood down with him. The couple’s eldest son, Crown , and his wife Princess Masako will be taking over the Chrysanthemum Throne on Wednesday at midnight following a “mysterious” abdication ceremony held at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. But both Empress Michiko and the future Empress have been banned from attending the ritual due to Japanese imperial protocol.

Speaking from Tokyo, CNN correspondent Will Ripley said: “In the main abdication ceremony itself, they bring out what is known as the – these are treasures that go back hundreds of years if not over a thousand years.

“There’s a sword, there’s a mirror, there is a gemstone which symbolises strength and wisdom and benevolence and yet women are not allowed in the room.

“Only the men in the Imperial Family, the outgoing Emperor, the new Emperor, will be allowed inside.”

The 85-year-old Emperor of is the first to abdicate in more than 200 years, with the last one by a Japanese monarch being in 1817.


Akihito started citing concerns about his age and declining health in August 2016, expressing his wish to abdicate while he was still well and capable.

Mr Ripley continued: “Even though this abdication is unprecedented in modern Japan – the law requires the Emperor to serve until death – and even though these are changing times and even though the is a Harvard-educated, former diplomat. she is not allowed to stand in the room when he becomes Emperor.

“That is one of the things that’s going to be discussed here in Japan when they start talking of succession laws and the role of women in the Imperial Family.

“Because the Imperial Family is shrinking. Every time a princess gets married, and she has to marry outside her family, she becomes a family and then doesn’t perform royal duties.”

Naruhito will become Emperor as the clock ticks midnight on Wednesday, but his formal enthronement will take place at a more elaborate ceremony in October.

On Wednesday morning, in his first ritual as Emperor, he will receive the Imperial regalia, including the sword and the jewel, as proof of his ascension to the throne.

Naruhito and wife Masako have only one child, 17-year-old Princess Aiko, who is barred from taking over the throne after her father due to male primogeniture rules, meaning the next heir will be Naruhito’s brother, , 53, better known by his childhood title Akishino.

Fumihito’s son, Hisahito, 12, would then be next in the line of succession.

Discussions have previously taken place on changing the law to allow female succession, but it quickly ended with Hisahito’s birth

However, more discussions are expected to take place in the future, with Akihito’s abdication raising concerns about the family’s future.

During his abdication ceremony, Emperor Akihito thanked the people of Japan for their support and said his 30 years on the throne were “a blessing”.

He also voiced his “heartfelt gratitude to the people of Japan who accepted me as the symbol of the state and supported me.”

He said: “It is fortunate that I have been able to perform my duty as emperor with profound trust in and respect for the Japanese people for 30 years since my ascension to the throne.

“Together with the empress, I hope from my heart that the new Reiwa (imperial) era that begins tomorrow will be peaceful and fruitful, and pray for the peace and happiness of our country and the people of the world.”

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