Japan parliament proposes one-off abdication law

A driver's licence shows the current era name under Emperor Akihito as Heisei printed in this photo taken Feb 3, 2017. The likely upcoming change in Japanese era name, which is linked to the reigning emperor, will affect official documents such as driver's licenses and health insurance cards. (Kyodo News photo)

TOKYO - Senior lawmakers on Friday presented Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a Diet proposal calling on the government to prepare one-off legislation to enable 83-year-old Emperor Akihito to abdicate.

After months of debate on whether to allow the abdication of emperors on a more permanent basis, ruling and opposition parties reached a compromise and decided to add a supplementary provision to the Imperial House Law so the legislation would serve as a precedent for future emperors.

Friday's move will pave the way for Emperor Akihito to hand over the Chrysanthemum throne to Crown Prince Naruhito, 57, in what would be the first succession from a living emperor in about 200 years.

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