A government-commissioned panel on Monday started hearing opinions from experts on Japanese history and the imperial household system to study Emperor Akihito’s possible abdication in a tighter schedule than previous hearings mulling imperial issues.
Five intellectuals, mostly university professors, have been invited to a third meeting of the panel tasked with considering how the burden on the 82-year-old emperor can be alleviated following his video message in August in which he expressed his desire to abdicate.
Unlike many other countries where the abdication of a king or queen is not uncommon, Japan’s modern imperial law does not envisage abdication. Succession is effectively allowed only upon an emperor’s death, and to enable the emperor to relinquish the Chrysanthemum throne a legal amendment or special legislation is necessary.
Issues to be heard by the panel, chaired by Takashi Imai, honorary chairman of the Japan Business Federation, include such topics as the role of an emperor, the installation of a regent and the possibility of creating a permanent system to enable emperors to abdicate.
The experts have 30 minutes each to present their views and discuss with panel members in a closed-door meeting held at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office.
“I believe the current system contributes the most to sustainable succession of the imperial throne,” one of the summoned experts, Takahisa Furukawa, a professor of modern Japanese history at Nihon University, told reporters after the meeting. “But I told (the panel) that the emperor abdicating is also one possible option if it is decided after adequate discussion.”
Furukawa said only advanced age should be a reason to enable abdication and the volume of the emperor’s official duties should be reviewed, adding that installation of a regent is one way to reduce the emperor’s burden.
The panel is set to hear from 11 other intellectuals, including journalists and a former Supreme Court justice, at a fourth and fifth meeting on Nov. 14 and 30, respectively.
The panel is then expected early next year to compile a report that will form the basis of a government bill during a regular Diet session starting in January. The government envisions the aging emperor’s potential abdication in 2018, when he will have reigned for 30 years, according to political sources.
The schedule is tighter than similar processes taken by previous government hearings looking into possible changes in the imperial household system, with some under former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government in 2012 to consider the establishment of female branches of the imperial family interviewing 12 experts in four months.
The four other experts summoned Monday are Sukehiro Hirakawa, professor emeritus of comparative literature at the University of Tokyo, Yasuo Ohara, professor emeritus of the Imperial Household system at Kokugakuin University, Isao Tokoro, professor emeritus of Japanese legal history at Kyoto Sangyo University, and writer Masayasu Hosaka.
In the rare video message released in August, Emperor Akihito voiced concern that his advanced age could one day stop him fulfilling his duties. The public overwhelmingly supported the idea of enabling the emperor to abdicate, according to opinion polls.
The first Ontario Islamic Heritage Month was celebrated on October 29, 2016 also at Jam’e Abu Bakr Siddique Masjid, a Sunni mosque located at 2665 Lawrence Ave. East in Toronto.
The mosque opened its doors to non-Muslims to learn about the true Islam from Islamic literature that was given away, by listening to speeches of Muslim imams and activists, participating in a Q&A session and a tour of the mosque.
The guest speaker at the event was Liberal MP Salma Zahid who said that Canada and Islam share the same basic value of equality that “makes is true Canadian.” She expressed her hope that such events will help young Muslim Canadians to learn about their religion and culture.
The following are excerpts from Salma Zahid’s speech (to listen to the speech click HERE):
“Equality for all is a basic tenet of Islam and it also makes us true Canadian…
“As the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that we are stronger not in spite of our differences but because of our differences…
“It is a honor to come here and enjoy and celebrate the Islamic Heritage Month…
“Please preserve the heritage, preserve the Canadian values and be a part of society. Happy Islamic Month to all of you…
“This is very very important not only to us, but to our future generation, for our kids and grand-kids. They’ll get to know what their religion is, what their culture is and how the Muslim Canadians are contributing to the social – economic fabric of this country.”
CIJnews obtained a copy of a book “The Quran” (Saheeh International) that was given away in the event. This is the same book that is being handed out by Muslim activists at the Islamic booth at Toronto’s Dundas Square.
The book explains the Islamic Law based on the Quran and Sunnah (narrations about Mohammad’s sayings and deeds) regarding the fighting (jihad) against disbelievers, enforcing a poll-tax on Jews and Christians who live under the rule of the Islamic State, legalizing taking non-Muslims women as sex-slaves during war, wife beating under certain conditions, punishing those of wage war against Islam by execution, crucifixion and amputation, regarding sodomy as an “evil” act, executing married men and women who were convicted of fornication by stoning them to death.
The following are excepts from the book presenting Quranic verses followed by modern interpretation:
Surah (chapter) Al-Baqarah
We said, “Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.29
After the coming of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) no religion other than Islam is acceptable
to Allah, as stated in 3:85 [And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.].
So woe32 to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.
i.e., death and destruction.
When his Lord said to him, “Submit,” he said, “I have submitted [in Islam]45 to the Lord of the worlds.”
The meaning of the word “Islam” is “submission to the will of Allah.” This is the way of life ordained by Allah and taught by all of the prophets from Adam to Muhammad (PBUH). A Muslim is one who submits himself to Allah.
And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah69 is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al-Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
Among the meanings of fitnah are disbelief and its imposition on others, discord, dissension, civil strife, persecution, oppression, injustice, seduction, trial and torment.
Surah (chapter) Al Imran
Let not believers take disbelievers as allies [i.e., supporters or protectors] rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing [i.e., no association] with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence.122 And Allah warns you of Himself, and to Allah is the [final] destination.
When fearing harm from an enemy, the believer may pretend as long as his heart and intention are not affected.
And among the People of the Scripture is he who, if you entrust him with a great amount [of wealth], he will return it to you. And among them is he who, if you entrust him with a [single] silver coin, he will not return it to you unless you are constantly standing over him [demanding it]. That is because they say, “There is no blame upon us concerning the unlearned.”133 And they speak untruth about Allah while they know [it].
The Jews do not consider it a sin to cheat or lie to a gentile or a pagan.
They have been put under humiliation [by Allah] wherever they are overtaken, except for a rope [i.e., covenant] from Allah and a rope [i.e., treaty] from the people [i.e., the Muslims].144 And they have drawn upon themselves anger from Allah and have been put under destitution. That is because they disbelieved in [i.e., rejected] the verses of Allah and killed the prophets without right. That is because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed.
Once they have surrendered, the People of the Scripture retain their rights and honor (in spite of their refusal of Islam) through payment of the jizyah tax in place of zakah and military service due from Muslims. They are then under the protection of the Islamic state.
Then if they deny you, [O Muhammad] – so were messengers denied before you, who brought clear proofs and written ordinances and the enlightening Scripture.151
The unaltered, original Torah and Gospel, which were revealed by Allah.
Surah (chapter) an-Nisa
Those who commit immorality [i.e., unlawful sexual intercourse] of your women – bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify,169 confine them [i.e., the guilty women] to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [another] way.170
The witnesses must swear to actually having seen the act taking place
The “other way” (i.e., penalty) was later revealed in 24:2, canceling the ruling in this verse. [24:2 reads the following “The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion [i.e., law] of Allah,906 if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.]
And the two171 who commit it [i.e., unlawful sexual intercourse] among you – punish [i.e., dishonor] them both. But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone. Indeed, Allah is ever Accepting of repentance and Merciful.
Scholars differ over whether “the two” refers to two of the same sex (i.e., homosexuals) or those of opposite sexes. In either case, later rulings outlined in the sunnah have replaced this one.
And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess.177 [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation178 as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
i.e., slaves or war captives who had polytheist husbands
The mahr, a specified gift to the bride required of the man upon marriage.
Surah (chapter) Al-Nisa’
“Men are in charge of women182 by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard.183 But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance.184 – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them [lightly].185 But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.”
This applies primarily to the husband-wife relationship.
i.e., their husbands’ property and their own chastity.
i.e., major rebellion or refusal of basic religious obligations.
This final disciplinary measure is more psychological than psychical. It may be resorted to only after failure of the first two measures and when it is expected to amend the situation and prevent family breakup; otherwise, it is not acceptable. The Prophet PBUH (who never struck a woman or a servant) additionally stipulated that it must not be severe or damaging and that the face be avoided.”
Surah (chapter) Al-Maidah
Indeed, the penalty262 for those who wage war263 against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,
i.e., commit acts of violence and terrorism against individuals or treason and aggression against the Islamic state.
Say, “Shall I inform you of [what is] worse than that271 as penalty from Allah? [It is that of] those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He became angry and made of them apes and pigs and slaves of Taghut.272 Those are worse in position and further astray from the sound way.”
Referring to the punishment the People of the Scripture (in their censure of the Muslims) claimed was deserved by them.
See footnote to 2:256 [False objects of worship, such as idols, heavenly bodies, spirits, human
Surah (chapter) Al- Anfal
So if you, [O Muhammad], gain dominance over them in war, disperse by [means of] them those behind them that perhaps they will be reminded.454
i.e., kill them and make an example of them to discourage those who follow them.
Surah (chapter) Al-Tawbah
Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth [i.e., Islam] from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah466 willingly while they are humbled.
A tax required of non-Muslims exempting them from military service and entitling them to the protection of the Islamic state. Concurrently, Zakah is not taken from them, being an obligation only upon Muslims.
Surah (chapter) Hud
And his people came hastening to him, and before [this] they had been doing evil deeds.569 He said, “O my people, these are my daughters;570 they are purer for you. So fear Allah and do not disgrace me concerning my guests. Is there not among you a man of reason?”
Referring to their practice of sodomy and homosexual rape of males.
i.e., the women of his community who were available for marriage.
Surah (chapter) An-Nahl
Whoever disbelieves in [i.e., denies] Allah after his belief…717 except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah, and for them is a great punishment;
Based upon the conclusion of this verse, the omitted phrase concerning the apostate is understood to be “…has earned the wrath of Allah…”
Surah (chapter) An-Nur
The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse904 – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes,973 and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion [i.e., law] of Allah,974 if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.
The ruling in this verse is applicable to unmarried fornicators. Execution by stoning is confirmed in the sunnah for convicted adulterers.
i.e., Do not let sympathy for a guilty person move you to alter anything ordained by Allah, for in His law is protection of society as a whole.
Surah (chapter) Ar-Rum
So direct your face [i.e., self] toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah1146 of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah.1147 That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.
The natural inborn inclination of man to worship his Creator prior to the corruption of his nature by external influences. Thus, Islamic monotheism is described as the religion of fitrah – that of the inherent nature of mankind
i.e., let people remain true to their fitrah within the religion of Islam.
Surah (chapter) al-Jathiya
Tell [O Muhammad], to those who have believed to forgive those who expect not the days of Allah [i.e., of His retribution] so that He may recompense a people1471 for what they used to earn.
In the Hereafter, where those who forgive will be rewarded and those who earned evil will be punished. This was at the outset of dawah (invitation to Allah) before permission for jihad.