Experts start discussing Imperial succession

NHK -- Mar 24
A panel of experts convened by Japan's government has started discussing ways to ensure that there are suitable candidates to succeed to the Imperial throne for the foreseeable future.

The six members of the panel, including scholars and an author, met for the first time at the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide told them that the government set up the panel based on a supplementary Diet committee resolution attached to a 2017 law that enabled then Emperor Akihito to abdicate.

Suga said their discussion would entail extremely important matters related to the fundamental underpinnings of the nation.

He asked them to lay out various views in an easy-to-understand manner.

Former President of Keio University Seike Atsushi was elected head of the panel. Those in attendance also decided to consult experts on the Imperial system and history.

Their deliberations will focus on the possibility of allowing descendants of the female line of the Imperial lineage to ascend the Imperial throne. Other ideas to be examined include allowing female members of the Imperial family to take part in some Imperial family activities after marrying a commoner and losing their status as members of the Imperial family.

The number of heirs to the throne and the shrinking size of the family is a pressing matter. Currently, successors to the throne must be male and from the male line of the Imperial lineage. There are now only three eligible heirs to Emperor Naruhito, only one of whom is in the generation after that of the Emperor.

The panel's next meeting is scheduled for April 8.


安定的な皇位継承の確保を議論する有識者会議が初会合を開き、女性天皇や女系天皇の是非などについて論点整理することを確認しました。  菅総理大臣:「ご議論頂くのは、国家の基本にかかわる極めて重要な事柄です」  会議では、専門家を呼んでヒアリングを行います。  ヒアリングでは、現在は「男系男子」に限られている皇位継承資格を女性や女系に拡大することや、女性皇族が結婚後も皇室にとどまる「女性宮家」創設の是非について意見を聞きます。  さらに、旧皇族の男系男子を皇室に復帰させることの是非についてもヒアリングします。 - ANNnewsCH