Japanese emperor and crown prince may trade homes

The Japan News/Asia News Network

The government is considering exchanging the residences of the Emperor and the crown prince if the Emperor abdicates, it has been learned.

According to sources, the government is considering the idea of having the Emperor move to the crown prince's residence from the Imperial residence in the Imperial Palace.

The crown prince, who would succeed to the throne, would move to the Imperial Palace.

The Emperor and Empress lived in the crown prince's residence located within the Akasaka Estate in Minato Ward, Tokyo, from June 1960 - the year after their marriage - to December 1993.

As the government is preparing for abdication with an eye on changing the era name on the first day of 2019, the Emperor and Empress would return to the crown prince's residence for the first time in about 30 years.

According to sources, the crown prince's family would move to the Imperial Palace after renovations are completed following the Emperor and Empress' departure.

During the renovations, the crown prince would commute from the crown prince's residence to the Imperial Palace for his official duties and public activities in the palace, the sources said.

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that a facility in the Akasaka Estate or an Imperial villa will serve as a temporary residence for the Emperor and Empress until the crown prince's residence is renovated for their use.

The Emperor commuted from the crown prince's residence to the Imperial Palace for five years after his succession to the throne in January 1989, until renovations were completed at the Imperial residence in the Imperial Palace. During that period, the crown prince's residence was called the Akasaka Imperial residence.

A government source said the idea of exchanging residences is in keeping with the Emperor's desire to minimise expenses related to the abdication.