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Japan Mulls 10-Day Abdication Public Holidays

Source: The Asahi Simbun (Tokyo)
Posted: Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Most recent follow-up news item: February 3, 2022

Following the announcement of the date of the upcoming abdication of Emperor Akihito on April 30, 2019, and Prince Naruhito's enthronement ceremony the following day, Japan's government and ruling coalition is considering declaring May 1st, 2019, as a National Holiday, which would mean a 10-day Golden Week public holidays period in Japan, from April 27 to May 6, 2019.

Though the declaration of May 1, 2019, as a non-working day in Japan, is relatively certain, the crucial issue is whether it will be declared as a national holiday or just a public holiday. If the former, then by virtue of a 2005 amendment to the "Holiday Act 43" which specifies that any date that falls between 2 national holidays is also a non-working public holiday (2005-05-15). This means that if May 1, 2019, were to be declared a national holiday, then April 30, which is preceded by the Showa Day national holiday on April 29, and May 2, which is followed by the Constitution Memorial Day public holiday on May 3, would become public holidays.

This past summer (2016-07-24), when Japanese Emperor Akihito announced that he intended to abdicate his throne, we surmised that, based on past precedent, a new annual non-working public holiday might be added to the list of annual non-working public holidays in Japan, remembering that the birthday of emperor Hirohito, later renamed Showa Day (2005-05-15), was kept as an annual Japanese non-working public holiday in Japan after his death, while Emperor Akihito's birthday was made an annual Japanese non-working public holiday in Japan, observed annually on December 23.

While the topic of Prince Naruhito's birthday being declared a new annual public holiday in Japan, has not been in the news, a government spokesperson is reported to have told the Mainichi Shimbun that "a measure to designate May 1, 2019, as a holiday -- whether it be a national holiday or a plain holiday -- will be an ad-hoc one effective for that year alone".

Japanese workers, traditionally overworked, can look forward to more holidays, the year after Prince Naruhito's enthronement ceremony, as a nonpartisan group of lawmakers headed by Toshiaki Endo, the former minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, announced plans, last summer, to declare the opening day of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a one-off non-working public holiday national holiday in Japan (2017-08-22) and, a month later, announced plans to add 2 more non-working public holidays to flank the Tokyo 2020 Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies in Japan (2017-09-26). According to the local media, "The government understands the group’s policy and the bills are likely to be passed", particularly as the plans include the compensation of all 3 of these one-off non-working public holidays in Japan in 2020.

Links and References

Below are links to the news stories referred to in the above "Japan Mulls 10-Day Abdication Public Holidays" news story, as well as links to subsequents news stories which refer to the present news story.