Emperor's Abdication Ceremony Set For April 30

Emperor's abdication ceremony set for April 30

The Japanese government has officially decided to hold Emperor Akihito's abdication ceremony on April 30 as an act of state stipulated under the Constitution.

The decision over one of the ceremonies related to the Imperial succession was made at a Cabinet meeting on Friday. The abdication ceremony will be the first of its kind in the history of Japan's Constitution.

Taiirei-Seiden-no-gi, or the Ceremony of the Abdication of His Majesty the Emperor at the State Hall, will be held for 10 minutes from 5:00 p.m. on April 30 in the Matsu-no-ma state room in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

The ceremony will be attended by more than 330 dignitaries, including the heads of Japan's legislative, executive and judiciary branches, Cabinet ministers as well as the heads of local governments.

After the Emperor and Empress Michiko enter the room, the Imperial Sword and Jewel -- two of the three treasures that are symbols of the Imperial throne -- will be placed on stands called "an." The State and Privy Seals, used by the Emperor for state duties, will also be displayed.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will declare that the Emperor will step down from the throne based on a special law enacted in June 2017. Abe will express his gratitude to the Emperor on behalf of the public.

The outgoing Emperor will then deliver a speech. This will be his final address as the Emperor.

Crown Prince Naruhito is to ascend the throne as the new Emperor on May 1.

The government will hold an extraordinary Cabinet meeting on that day to officially approve the first ceremony for the new Emperor as a constitutional act of state.

The Ceremony for Inheriting the Imperial Regalia and Seals, or Kenji-to-Shokei-no-gi, will be held shortly after the Cabinet meeting.