The Abe government is intended to close the issue of abdication of Emperor Hirohito by enacting a special law which restricts exclusively to the incumbent emperor, maneuvering a public consensus. We, the New Socialist Party, oppose the alleged special law on abdication of emperor: we demand a government to respect the emperor’s wish to leave on his voluntary will and to revise the Imperial Household Law which deeply reflects the pre-war Meiji Constitution. The NSP opposes the bill to enact a special law on the emperor’s abdication.
SPECIAL LAW ON EMPEROR’S ABDICATION IS NOT RIGHT ANSWER
Parliamentary Speakers and Deputy Speakers of both of the Upper and Lower Houses presented March 17 to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo ‘the summary on abdication of the emperor and other related matters’. It was compiled by Speakers and Deputy Speakers who integrated opinions from all the political parties and parliamentary groups to ‘a comprehensive position of Parliament’ after analyzing the video message which Emperor Hirohito released last August in which he voluntarily expressed his retirement and the conclusions reached by the government’s Advisory Panel in January this year.
The summary is characterized by (1) a special law which limits abdication of the emperor exclusively to the incumbent Hirohito, that is, the abdication is an exceptional treatment, and (2) a rule to be supplemented to the Imperial Household Law to indicate relationship between the Special Law and the imperial law itself in order to wipe out concerns on violation of Article 2 of the Constitution.
Abe Government’s Intentions
The Abe government has maintained (1) to restrict abdication to exclusively to the incumbent emperor and not accept a change in the rule to remain in the throne until death, (2) to evade possible effects coming from the abdication issue on the Imperial Household Law, including a female emperor system and (3) to elaborately manipulate a social mood to be ‘a public consensus’.
A series of developments show what the Abe government has projected to realize.
NSP opposes a temporary law on emperor abdication
The NSP opposes the posthumous succession system and a temporary act which applies exclusively to the incumbent emperor.
Even in the interpretation held by the government on the Constitution the emperor is acknowledged to be one of Japanese people and to enjoy the fundamental human rights that the Constitution provides. But the Imperial Household Law stipulates emperor should stay in the throne until the death. This means the emperor is obliged to remain sitting till his death against the will, which violates the fundamental human rights. The voluntary will of abdication should be protected.
The government insists that the Constitution specifies Emperor as a symbol and that his human rights should be limited to an extent. Such restraint, however, should be applied only to exceptional spheres, such as political expressions.
Verify Imperial Household Law
The NSP demands to verify and review the Imperial Household Law.
The current Imperial Household Law inherits the former one based on the Meiji Constitution: it stipulates the male, posthumous succession.
The argument on abdication has emerged here from this point, and similar one will be repeated. It is right time now to verify and review the Imperial Household Law. The key point, naturally, lies in the principles of people’s sovereignty and guarantee of the fundamental human rights.
Government’s maneuvers of ‘public consensus’
The NSP seriously concerns about the government’s tactic to produce ‘a public consensus’.
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has clung to a policy to reach a prior accord between the government and the parliament, telling ‘not to use the abdication issue as a tool of a political strife’. The speakers have worked fervently to have ‘a parliamentary consensus’. The Nikkei Newspaper reported in January under the title, ‘Both Houses Agree on Legislation over Abdication of Emperor ? Touchstone for Constitution Amendment’, that ‘new practices will be produced in the Diet so that proposals for amendment might be raised in a fresh atmosphere’.
The government employs a plot of ‘a public consensus’ in enacting other related laws. Political forces of pro-Constitution must continue struggling against fabricated consensus.
April 11, 2017