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Ceremony for Japanese Imperial heir Prince Akishino set for April 2020
[TOKYO] The "Rikkoshi no Rei" ceremony that will proclaim Prince Akishino as "koshi" - the Imperial heir who is first in line to the throne - following the Emperor's abdication and the crown prince's accession, is expected to take place in April 2020, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The government will soon hold the first meeting of a committee chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - tentatively named the "ceremony committee" - to consider the details of the Rikkoshi no Rei ceremony and formally adopt its schedule, according to sources close to the government.
In April this year, the government decided on a basic policy concerning how to conduct ceremonies for the abdication and the accession to the throne. On that occasion, the government announced that the Rikkoshi no Rei ceremony will be held as an act in matters of state under the Constitution. It has also been decided that the ceremony will be held in 2020, following the crown prince's accession to the throne, which is slated for May 2019.
A series of events are expected to be held in January 2020 and the following month will include the birthday of the crown prince, who will become the new emperor. These circumstances prompted the government to aim to conduct the ceremony for Prince Akishino in April 2020, after these Imperial events.
The plan was also a result of the government's judgment that it is not desirable to hold the Rikkoshi no Rei ceremony more than a year after the crown prince's accession in May 2019, according to the sources.
If the ceremony takes place in April 2020, it will be about half a year after the "Sokuirei Seiden no Gi" ceremony where the new emperor proclaims his enthronement.
The government is scheduled to establish a committee in a short period of time to compile details of ceremonies related to the abdication and the enthronement, and hold its first meeting.
The government will also set up a liaison headquarters for relevant ministries and agencies to coordinate with each other, thereby accelerating its preparations toward the transfer of the throne. The headquarters will be headed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
These government bodies will decide on the programs and lists of attendees for a series of events such as the "Kenji to Shokei no Gi" - a ceremony where the new emperor inherits the Imperial Regalia, the Privy Seal and the State Seal on the occasion of the enthronement on May 1, 2019 - and the "Sokuirei Seiden no Gi" ceremony in October in the same year.
They will also be in charge of materializing such events as the government's official ceremony on Feb. 24 in the same year to celebrate the Emperor's 30 years on the throne.
Day-to-day operational work of the two bodies will be managed by a government secretariat in charge of ceremonies associated with the transfer of the throne. Established in August this year, the secretariat is chaired by Shigetaka Yamasaki.