Emperor abdication bill comes step closer to enactment

The committee approved the abdication bill, which applies only to the current Emperor, with support from all parties, except for the small opposition Liberal Party.

The legislation, which cleared the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, last week, is expected to be enacted at Friday’s plenary meeting of the Upper House, setting the stage for the first Imperial abdication in about 200 years in Japan.

Ahead of the vote, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stressed at the Upper House committee the government’s policy of maintaining the current system of Chrysanthemum Throne succession to male offspring in the male line of the Imperial lineage, as stipulated in the Imperial House Law.

A special committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, on Wednesday passed government-sponsored special legislation for Emperor Akihito’s abdication. (Jiji)

A Japanese research team on Wednesday submitted an application to an international organization for the geological age from 770,000 to 126,000 years ago to be recognized as “Chibanian,” named after Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. (Jiji)

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday that 22,000 becquerels of radioactive plutonium-239 was detected in the lung of a staff member exposed to radiation at the agency’s research facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. (Jiji)

The rainy season appears to have started in wide swaths of eastern, central and western Japan, the weather agency said Wednesday, warning of downpours and natural disasters during the roughly six-week period. (Japan Times)

The long arm of the law may be reaching out to Japan’s largest criminal syndicate and its breakaway gangs. (tokyoreporter.com)

Koki Tanaka, a former member of boy band KAT-TUN, was released from custody on Wednesday following his arrest for possession of marijuana, reports NHK. (tokyoreporter.com)

Sota Fujii, the youngest professional shogi player at age 14, extended his series of wins on Wednesday since turning pro to 23, the third-longest winning streak on record. (Japan Times)

The Ibaraki Prefectural Board of Education said Tuesday that 379 students at 61 schools in the prefecture felt sick after drinking milk served during lunchtime at school the previous day. (Japan Times)

Japan’s nuclear regulator says 5 workers at a nuclear research facility have accidentally been exposed to a radioactive substance. (NHK)

A 38-year-old woman and her two children were found dead in their home in Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture, police said Wednesday. Police said the mother, Yukiko Nakata, her son Ryosuke, 9, and her daughter Miyu, 6, were strangled to death, Fuji TV reported. (Japan Today)

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