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Japan to pardon 600,000 criminals to celebrate emperor’s enthronement

Citizens who violated Public Offences Act among those set to benefit

Zamira Rahim
Wednesday 02 October 2019 15:20 BST
The Emperor Naruhito has succeeded his father.
The Emperor Naruhito has succeeded his father. (Getty)

Japan will reportedly pardon 600,000 petty criminals to mark the new emperor’s enthronement.

In April Emperor Akhito became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate the chrysanthemum throne since 1817.

His son, Naruhito, succeeded him as emperor. Naruhito’s formal enthronement ceremony will take place later this month.

The full scope of the pardon order remains unclear but will involve amnesty for those who were sentenced to pay fines.

People with such sentences are banned from obtaining some qualifications and are unable to obtain physician and nurse licences for five years.

Under the pardon system, this rule will no longer apply to people convicted in the last three years, according to the Manchini Shimbun.

People found guilty of violating the Public Offices Election Act are usually punished with a bar on running for public office and the suspension of the right to vote.

Some of these offenders will also be pardoned to celebrate the enthronement.

“We are currently considering the matter carefully. I refrain from commenting on details,” said Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary.

The plan is expected to be approved later this month.

When an enthronement ceremony was held in 1990 for Emperor Akihito, 2.5m people were pardoned.

In 1989, around 30,000 people were pardoned for Emperor Hirohito’s funeral.

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Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement will take place during a ceremony on 22 October.

The event will be attended by dignitaries from nearly 200 countries.

The new emperor is expected to wear a traditional robe and headdress.

He will then step into the “Takamikura” – a 6.5m high pavilion and sit on a cushioned chair within it, made from tatami straw.

Shortly afterwards, the pavilion curtains will be drawn and the emperor will stand.

At this point he will publicly declare his succession.

Additional reporting by agencies

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