World

Japan princess's betrothal highlights male royal succession woes

Japan princess's betrothal highlights male royal succession woes

Japanese Princess Mako (left) will be getting married to Kei Komuro, a legal assistant.

Japanese Princess Mako leaves her home in Tokyo on May 18, 2017.

Still, asked if he had spoken with the princess after the news emerged, Komuro - a graduate school student also working at a law firm - said: "I talked to her on the phone this morning".

Emperor Akihito's granddaughter's upcoming engagement to her college sweetheart, a commoner, will cost the princess her royal status in a move that highlights the male-dominated nature of Japan's monarchy as it faces a potential succession crisis.

Princess Sayako is the only daughter of Emperor Akihito.

According to the Imperial House Law, the granddaughter of Emperor Akihito will become a commoner once married.

However, she is not alone as several women in her family before her have given up their royal ties in the name of love.




However, the new legislation is expected to leave unchanged a males-only succession law - which has been at the centre of debate for many years.

Currently, the family has 19 members, of whom 14 are female. Mako and Komuro are both 25 years old.

Last year, the emperor, 83, expressed his wish to abdicate from the throne, a move that is unheard of in Japan for almost 200 years.

There are now only four male heirs following Emperor Akihito: his sons Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Fumihito; Prince Hisahito, Mako's younger brother and Fumihito's son; and Prince Masahito, the emperor's younger brother.

The government is now preparing legislation to allow Akihito, 83, to abdicate in favour of Naruhito, his eldest son. AP said the couple would also make a formal report to the emperor and empress.

Emperor Akihito, 83, hinted last August that he wanted to stand down, saying his age could interfere with his duties.


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