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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 13 - 19  > Adjournment of regular Cabinet meeting due to imperial succession ritual unconstitutional
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2019 November 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Adjournment of regular Cabinet meeting due to imperial succession ritual unconstitutional

November 13 and 14, 2019

The government on November 12 called off a Cabinet meeting scheduled for November 15 because the “Daijosai (Grand Thanksgiving)”, a centuries-old religious ceremony linked to the change of emperors, will be held between the night of the previous day and the early morning of that day.

The government explained that during the ceremony, the prime minister and other Cabinet ministers will be at a building near the venue to wait for Emperor Naruhito to finish the rites.

The Daijosai is a Shinto ceremony. The use of public funds for this event and attendance of ministers at the ceremony go against the constitutional principle of the separation of state and religion. Furthermore, adjourning a regular Cabinet meeting because of the ritual is tantamount to giving priority to the Imperial family event over state affairs, which conflicts with the constitutional principle of popular sovereignty.

Representatives of major groups of the Christian Church in Japan on November 12 submitted to the Cabinet Office 6,200 petition signatures opposing the “Daijosai” thanksgiving ceremony as it is unconstitutional to hold the ceremony as a national event.

The petition states that the series of the Imperial succession events are obviously Shinto ceremonies and that the government should refrain from engaging in these ceremonies with the use of taxpayers’ money.

The signature-collection drive was initiated by the National Christian Council in Japan.

After the submission of the signatures, the representatives of the Christian groups, including the NCC, held a press conference in the Diet building.

One of the representatives, Father Ota Masaru of the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace said, “The Daijosai should be conducted as a private event of the Imperial Family.” Koiwai Makoto of the Japan Evangelical Association social affairs committee said, “We are opposed to the move to create a fait accompli regarding treatment of the Emperor as a god.”
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