Japanese Parliament Passes Law for Abdication

Via CNN:  Japan passes historic law to allow beloved Emperor to abdicate

Imperial law decrees that sitting emperors cannot resign from their posts, but the one-off bill permits the 83-year-old to pass the Chrysanthemum Throne to Crown Prince Naruhito, the eldest of his three children.
The piece also has an interesting discussion of the role of the female members of the royal family.
FILED UNDER: Asia, World Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Jay Gischer says:

    That’s very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  2. MarkedMan says:

    This incredibly strict adherence to a “perfect” bloodline doesn’t surprise me. As I became more familiar with Asia due to job responsibilities, I was intrigued to learn just how racist many Asian societies are, with perhaps none more so than Japan. One example: the Chief Medical Officer of our multibillion dollar medical device company visited there for the first time. He was ushered into a conference room by government officials and shown a well produced film intended specifically for medically oriented companies and officials. It carefully explained why the Japanese physiology was completely unlike any other people’s, because the Japanese were so racially pure and so isolated. The pitch was that you should rerun all tests on your drugs or devices on pure race Japanese to ensure safety.

  3. Franklin says:

    @MarkedMan: That may seem a bit strange, but I’ve just been reading in MIT Technology Review about mapping specific gene mutations to diseases. Something like 95+% of the DNA samples sequenced so far have come from either the U.S. or U.K., and they’re making some progress on diseases commonly found among those people. Most of the other samples come from India. We currently have very little clue about diseases more specific to Asians in the Far East.
    If you look up “precision medicine” and the way they are planning to develop drugs to target specific gene mutations, you’ll see that indeed they probably will need to test them on “pure race Japanese”.

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    To go way off on a tangent…

    As an American, I am often amused by some of the “pure race” fanatics that we tend to have in our own borders. (…you know, the folks, voted for Trump, thinking that he was one of them)

    I am by birth descended from Lithuanians. 100%. Surprisingly due to it’s own intentional isolation in the midst of Europe, Lithuanians are insular. Not due to water like Japan, but because of necessary cultural self-preservation.

    It is a very old lineage, with an interesting history, and an ancient language, but as I said intentionally isolated as it seemed to be in the middle of the superhighway between western Europe and the peoples of Russia…. which tended to seem to be at war over something or other in the last two millennia. (Let me tell you what a PITA the Teutonic Knights were… Radical Muslims can’t hold a candle to those jolly Christians… and lets not even get started with the whole Hitler thing).

    So while I can track that back a while, a DNA Testing site (23andme) shows that I have a surprising amount of Neanderthal genes.

    While that may explain my complete set of wisdom teeth still in my jaw, and a strong forehead, that does kill the idea of anyone being a “pure race”

    Maybe it’s just my need for a second cup of coffee, but it seems to me that Humans tend to waste a lot of time in a very short life about things that, when it is all said and done, result in nothing.

    Sort of like this comment. 🙂

  5. The bigger issue for Japan and the Emperor will be succession after the current Emperor. The Crown Prince only has one child, a daughter. Under current law, women cannot succeed to the throne so the Heir Apparent would become the Crown Prince’s eldest brother, who would be followed by his eldest son., who is currently something like ten years old.

    There have been some proposals in the Japanee legislature to allow women to reign as Empress but they’ve been blocked by Japanese traditionalists

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Franklin: Targeted medicine is an incredible opportunity, especially for drugs. But that will apply to everyone. The point is to locate the genes that would indicate a drug, and then apply that drug for people suffering from those diseases. Once the genetic test is available you would test all patients for it. That gene may be more common in a particular grouping of people, but you still should test.

    You also said that research and drug development are primarily done in the US and U.K. And this necessarily overlooks diseases that are not common in the US. There is truth to that. Unfortunately, very little commercial research is done on uncommon diseases regardless of where they occur. Companies base research decisions on payback, not on the seriousness of the disease. So something like Malaria is under researched because richer countries are able to control it with public health measures (spraying, eliminating mosquito breeding grounds near population centers, etc) and poorer countries won’t be able to afford a new medication.

  7. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: And, of course, an absolutely direct hereditary line of ascension is positively essential for these situations because there is not telling what kind of damage one’s brother’s son ascending to the throne will do (to the line of ascension).