Japanese government panel launches discussion on imperial succession
The government’s advisory group on securing a stable imperial line of succession has launched a series of meetings this week, with discussions over the next few months that are expected to focus on whether the country should break with tradition. and enable female members of the emperor’s family to rise through the ranks. throne.
The six-member panel will hear from experts in various fields and aims to reach a conclusion by the fall, when it will present its findings to the Diet.
“The subject you are discussing is an important issue concerning the base of the nation,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at the start of the meeting on Tuesday. “I hope you will hear a range of points of view and present them in a way that is easy to understand.”
The panel was formed amid growing concerns about the dwindling number of Imperial Family members and what that means for the future of the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Under Japan’s patrilineal imperial succession, reserved for men, Emperor Naruhito, 61, has only three heirs: his brother, Crown Prince Akishino, 55, his nephew, Prince Hisahito, 14, and his uncle Prince Hitachi, 85 years old. Emperor and Empress Masako have a 19-year-old daughter, Princess Aiko.
The panel agreed to question experts on 10 key points, including their positions on including female imperial or matrilineal members in the line of succession, the current rule requiring women marrying commoners to relinquish their imperial status and l adoption of male heirs from former branches of the Imperial Empire. family.
According to a government official, a total of twenty experts will be called upon to give their opinion.
The Japanese public is increasingly in favor of allowing a woman to ascend the throne, with 85% of those polled in a Kyodo News poll conducted last spring supporting the move.
But the conservatives in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are reluctant to make any significant changes to the rules of imperial succession.
Japan’s imperial system dates back to the 5th century, and there were eight female monarchs between the 6th and 18th centuries. But none of them were of female descent. The current law came into effect in 1947.
The panel was created in response to a non-binding Diet resolution in 2017 calling on the government to step up the debate after Emperor Akihito expressed his desire to abdicate due to old age.
Former Keio University president Atsushi Seike was chosen to chair the panel by the other members, including Tetsuro Tomita, president of East Japan Railway Co., and Mayumi Ohashi, professor of law at the University of Sophia.
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