Prince Naruhito says he is ready to ascend Japan’s throne

Tokyo, Feb 23 (IANS) Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito on Thursday hinted that he was prepared to ascend the throne once his father, Emperor Akihito, steps down.

Naruhito said he has always been inspired by his parents’ sincere discharge of duties and that like them, he too wished to continue sharing the joys and sorrows of the people, Efe news reported.

This is also the first time that Naruhito, eldest son of 83-year-old Akihito, has spoken publicly about his father’s desire to abdicate.

Akihito announced his intention to abdicate the throne in August 2016, citing failing health and old age.

The Crown Prince said he fully empathized with his father’s decision, and that it was taken after due consultations.

The Japanese government has set up a committee to facilitate the abdication, the provision for which is not currently included in the Imperial Household Law and would require either an amendment or the creation of a special legislation.

Akihito’s abdication, if it goes through, will be the first in the country since that of Emperor Kokaku, 200 years ago.