02 February 2004

A Female Empress in Japan? Why Not?

The Japanese Diet appears to be moving ahead at its normal, glacial pace to provide for the possibility of a female empress. The Guardian reported the story soon after Princess Aiko's second birthday in December.
Japan is preparing to revise its succession law to allow women to ascend the 2,600-year-old Chrysanthemum Throne for the first time in more than two centuries.

The change could see Princess Aiko, the two-year-old daughter of the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Naruhito, become only the ninth female to head the world's oldest monarchy.

"We are planning to accept a reigning empress in our final report," Taro Nakayama, who chairs a parliamentary committee on constitutional issues, said in an interview published yesterday in the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.

Mr Nakayama said the revision could be made as early as next year. "Since Japan had eight reigning empresses in history, succession by a new empress would not be strange," he said.
Now the Associated Press has gotten around to reporting the same story. Perhaps we're just seeing a slow release of trial balloons.

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