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Japan pardons 550K before Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony

TOKYO — Japan’s government has pardoned about 550,000 people convicted of petty crimes to mark Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony.

The measure, approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet last week, was published Tuesday in the special edition of the daily official gazette.

Emperor Naruhito is to proclaim his May 1 succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne in a palace ceremony later Tuesday.

The pardons cover those who committed petty crimes such as traffic violations and election fraud.

The pre-war custom of clemency by the emperor has triggered criticism as being undemocratic and politically motivated. At the time of former emperor Akihito’s enthronement, 2.5 million people were given amnesty.

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