|Japanese Princess Aiko, the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to attend a scaled-down New Year's ceremony on Jan. 1, 2021, wearing a mask amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by=Kyodo)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] While Japan recently started a formal discussion on how to secure a stable imperial succession, experts see it as unlikely that a government panel will reach a conclusion to allow a reigning empress despite widespread public support for the idea.
Kyodo said that the scholars doubt Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will exert leadership in achieving drastic changes to the current patrilineal male-only imperial succession rule despite a shrinking number of heirs, citing his weak political base, during separate interviews with Kyodo News held recently. The three academics, who’ve been involved in past government debate on the future of the imperial family, pointed out that a wide gap will not be narrowed soon between those in favor of women ascending the throne or emperors descending from the maternal line and those against the idea.
Japan's 61-year-old Emperor Naruhito only has three heirs: his brother Crown Prince Fumihito, 55, his nephew Prince Hisahito, 14, and his uncle Prince Hitachi, 85. The emperor and Empress Masako have one daughter, 19-year-old Princess Aiko. Currently, female members of the imperial family are required to abandon their royal status upon marrying commoners. Prince Hisahito is the only unmarried male in the household. One of the experts, Hidehiko Kasahara, 64, a Keio University professor specializing in the history of Japanese politics, blamed exPM, Shinzo Abe, for not addressing the issue despite becoming Japan's longest-serving prime minister in history.