Engagement news spurs debate on 'female Imperial branches'
the-japan-news.com -- May 18
As Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, is expected to be formally engaged to a former classmate at her university, a debate on the idea of enabling female members of the Imperial family to establish their own Imperial branches while retaining their Imperial status after marriage will likely attract attention again.

Ruling and opposition parties are discussing a bill to establish a special measures law to realize the abdication of the Emperor. Some Diet members want to add the creation of female Imperial branches to the discussion, aiming to put it in a Diet resolution accompanying the enactment of the special measures law. A great question is to what extent they will be able to do so.

Article 12 of the Imperial House Law states, "In case a female of the Imperial family marries a person other than the Emperor or the members of the Imperial family, she shall lose the status of the Imperial family member."

Currently, among the 14 female Imperial family members, there are seven in their 30s or younger, including Princess Aiko, 15, the daughter of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. There is a possibility the seven could leave the Imperial family after marriage.

Female Imperial family members are covering the activities of the males, whose numbers are declining. Princess Mako acts as the patron of the Japan Kogei Association and the honorary patron of the Japan Tennis Association. She is also earnestly working on promoting international friendships by using her experience of studying abroad.

News source: the-japan-news.com
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