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Japan Panel Backs the Idea of a Woman on the Throne

November 25, 2005|From Associated Press

TOKYO — A panel on Japan's imperial succession formally recommended Thursday that women be allowed to ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne, a change that could spare the royal family a looming succession crisis.

The panel's final report to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi calls for revising Japanese law to give a ruler's first-born child of either sex the right to head the world's oldest hereditary monarchy. Koizumi has said he plans to submit a bill incorporating the recommendations to parliament next year.

"I think this is an important report which allows for stable imperial succession," he said.

Japan's royal family hasn't had a male offspring in 40 years. Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako's only child is a girl, 3-year-old Aiko.

If approved by parliament, the revision is expected to make Aiko second in line to the throne.

"This would be a new experience for the Japanese," said Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, who heads the 10-member panel. "I hope the proposal will receive wide public support and contribute to stable imperial succession."

He said the proposal was intended to allow Aiko to ascend the throne even if her parents had a boy.

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