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Japanese Panel Supports Idea of Women on Throne

October 26, 2005|From Associated Press

TOKYO — An advisory panel on Japan's monarchy will propose allowing women to ascend the throne, the chairman said Tuesday, in a boost to a measure that has broad support in Japan and could relieve pressure on the imperial family to produce a male heir.

The panel, which has been meeting for months on the issue, said it would recommend to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi that the law be revised to allow a female monarch.

Koizumi later told reporters that he would submit a bill to parliament next year. The amendment would be subject to approval by both houses.

Japan's royal family, led by Emperor Akihito, has not produced a male heir since the 1960s. Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako have one child, a 3-year-old daughter named Aiko.

Under the 1947 Imperial House Law, only a male who has an emperor on his father's side can succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne. That means neither Princess Aiko nor her future children could ascend.

"Under the current law, a succession would become difficult in the future," said panel Chairman Hiroyuki Yoshikawa.

In July, the panel compiled an interim report suggesting a legal change to allow a female monarch or to bring back members of the old aristocracy who were forced from the imperial household after World War II.

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