A Request to the Japanese Government Regarding the Separation of Politics and Religion in the Imperial Abdicat […]
A Request to the Japanese Government
Regarding the Separation of Politics and Religion
in the Imperial Abdication and Enthronement
To the Honorable Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
The present Emperor will abdicate on April 30, 2019, and the new Emperor will be enthroned the next day, May 1.
At the previous enthronement after the demise of Emperor Showa, the Daijosai, which is a private religious event of the Imperial family, was held as “an event of the Imperial family with a public nature” despite its religious aspect. Public funds were spent on the ritual and the heads of the three branches of the government attended. Religious traditions were also brought into the accession ceremony which is a civil act. We strongly believe that these actions violate the principle of separation of politics and religion in the Japanese Constitution.
According to news reports yesterday, the Daijosai this time will once again follow the procedure of the previous time. We wish to express our deep regret at this.
The principle of the separation of politics and religion in the Japanese Constitution (Article 20) was made out of remorse that Japan had fought a war under state Shinto centered on the emperor, violating the human rights and the peace of many people in the world, including Asian people. The Japanese government has a responsibility not to forget this anguished history by not following that path again.
For that reason, we call upon the Japanese government as follows:
“In the series of ceremonies and events for the abdication and enthronement of the Emperor, we call upon the Japanese government to strictly abide by the principle of the separation of politics and religion in accord with the Japanese Constitution, and to distinguish clearly between those acts that are matters of state and those ceremonies which are private religious observances of the Imperial family.”