Japan mulls maintaining the current order of imperial succession

Kyodo -- Jun 08
Japan is considering maintaining the current order of imperial succession, with the discussion on whether female monarchs will be allowed to ascend the throne to be held in the future, government sources said Monday.

The Japanese government's advisory panel on the issue, chaired by former Keio University President Atsushi Seike, heard from a total of 21 experts from various fields in six meetings from March 23 through Monday, but few were of the opinion that the current order should be changed immediately.

Currently, the three heirs in line to succeed 61-year-old Emperor Naruhito are his brother Crown Prince Fumihito, 55, his nephew Prince Hisahito, 14, and his uncle Prince Hitachi, 85.

The government will present its findings to parliament next month at the earliest, aiming to reach a conclusion reflective of the experts' views by this fall.

The results of meetings will be organized into key points including positions on female or matrilineal imperial members in the line of succession, the current rule requiring women marrying commoners to abandon their imperial status, and adoption of male heirs from former branches of the imperial family.

As the government believes the issue should be discussed "in a quiet environment," it is unlikely to reach a conclusion before the next lower house election to be held by October to avoid turning it into a point of debate. - Kyodo