Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Instagram founders quit photo app

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Tanzania investigates ferry disaster which killed at least 227

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential parody: the unofficial Elysée shop

Read more

THE DEBATE

Iran under pressure: Tehran vows retaliation after Ahvaz attack

Read more

FOCUS

Germany: Where providing information on abortion remains a crime

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: ‘Big Brothers’ Winston McAnuff & Fixi

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'Back from golfing dead': Tiger Woods overcomes pain and scandal to win first tour in 5 years

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Julien Brave NoiseCat: ‘Pipelines a real threat to First Nations’ way of life’

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Austrian government spokesman: ‘Still possible to agree on Brexit deal before end of October’

Read more

Asia-pacific

Japan’s emperor says health is failing, hints at abdication

© AFP file photo | Japan's Emperor Akihito delivers his opening address for the extraordinary Diet (parliament) session in Tokyo, on August 1, 2016

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-08-08

Japanese Emperor Akihito, 82, said in a rare video address to the public on Monday that he worried that age may make it difficult for him to fully carry out his duties.

In nationally televised remarks, Akihito also said there were limits to reducing the emperor’s duties as the “symbol of the state”, the status accorded to the monarch under Japan’s post-war constitution.

Public broadcaster NHK reported last month that Akihito, who has had heart surgery and been treated for prostate cancer, wanted to step down in a few years - a move that would be unprecedented in modern Japan.

Once considered divine, the emperor is defined in the constitution as a symbol of the state and the unity of the people, and has no political power.

Akihito stopped short of saying outright that he wanted to abdicate, which could be interpreted as interfering in politics.

“When I consider that my fitness level is gradually declining, I am worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state with my whole being, as I have done until now,” he said.

An English translation of his remarks was issued by the Imperial Household Agency, which manages his affairs.

Akihito is said to feel strongly that an emperor’s full performance of his duties is integral to his constitutional role, experts say.

Opinion polls show the vast majority of ordinary Japanese sympathise with the emperor’s desire to retire, but this would need legal changes.

The idea has sparked opposition from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative base, which worries that debate on the imperial family’s future could widen to the topic of letting women inherit and pass on the throne, anathema to traditionalists.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2016-08-08

  • North Korea

    North Korea fires ballistic missile into sea near Japan

    Read more

  • japan

    Japan pledges to cooperate with French probe into Olympics corruption

    Read more

  • G7

    World economy, terrorism take centre stage as G7 leaders meet in Japan

    Read more

COMMENT(S)