Japan to set up panel on imperial succession as family shrinks

Japan Times -- Mar 16
Japan will establish an advisory panel next week to solicit views from experts on ways to secure a stable imperial succession, the top government spokesman said Tuesday, amid concerns over the dwindling number of royal family members.

The six-member panel is set to discuss issues including the country’s male-only imperial succession rule, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a news conference. The move comes two years after Emperor Naruhito’s ascension to the chrysanthemum throne following the abdication of his father, former Emperor Akihito, in 2019.

“Securing a stable imperial succession is an important issue concerning the nation’s basis,” Kato said. Panel members “are expected to hold discussions without making prejudgments.”

The six panel members include Tetsuro Tomita, chairman of East Japan Railway Co., and Atsushi Seike, former president of Keio University. They are expected to reach a conclusion following up to one year of discussions.

Japan’s imperial house has been shrinking under the 1947 Imperial House Law, which states that only men in the paternal line can ascend the throne. It also requires women marrying commoners to abandon their royal status.

- Japan Times