prince ready to become symbol of state after ascending throne
Crown Prince Naruhito expressed his readiness Tuesday to take on
in the future his father's role as the symbol of the state, following
the recent enactment of legislation to enable Emperor Akihito to
"I would like to give my whole heart and soul to every duty,
including official duties I have already inherited from His Majesty,"
the 57-year-old crown prince said at a press conference when asked
about the emperor's constitutional role as the symbol of the state.
Asked about the enactment of the law to enable Japan's first
imperial abdication in two centuries, however, the crown prince said
"I would like to refrain from making comments on matters regarding
The crown prince's first public comments since the enactment
came before his weeklong trip to Denmark from Thursday to commemorate
150 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Japan's parliament Friday enacted the law to allow the
83-year-old emperor to abdicate following his rare video address last
summer that hinted at his desire to step down due to his advanced
age. While the law states the government will determine the exact
timing of the abdication within three years of its promulgation,
government sources say December 2018 is the target.
Japan had no legal provision for abdication before the enactment
of the law, which is only applicable to Emperor Akihito.
The crown prince said the emperor's overseas trips to promote
international friendship are "extremely important."
Emperor Akihito has traveled with Empress Michiko to World War
II battlefields overseas to pay tribute to those who lost their lives
during the war, which Japan fought in the name of Emperor Akihito's
Referring to the emperor's trips to mourn the war dead, Crown
Prince Naruhito said, "I would like to engage in overseas travel
sincerely while reflecting on His Majesty's thoughts."
But he declined to comment on whether he will travel abroad to
pay respects to the war dead after he ascends the throne.
During his stay in Copenhagen, the crown prince is expected to
make a speech at the opening ceremony of an exhibition on Japan and
attend a luncheon with Queen Margrethe II and a dinner with Crown
Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary. He is scheduled to return
home on June 21. (June 13)