Japan plans to pardon 600,000 to mark Emperor's enthronement

TOKYO - The Japanese government is planning to grant pardons to about 600,000 petty criminals to mark Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony on Oct 22, the Mainichi Shimbun daily said on Wednesday (Oct 2), citing unidentified government sources.

Those pardoned will have restrictions on their legal rights lifted, the paper said. In Japan, those who are convicted and fined are banned from obtaining physicians', nurses' and some other licences for five years.

Asked about the government's plan on amnesty, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters, "We are currently considering the matter carefully. I refrain from commenting on details."

When an enthronement ceremony was held in 1990 for former emperor Akihito, 2.5 million people were pardoned.

In April, Emperor Emeritus Akihito became the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in two centuries.