The conversation around Emperor Akihitos’ decision to step down has more recently been dominated by the debate on the role women play in the world’s oldest hereditary monarchy.
…Imperial law decrees that sitting emperors cannot resign from their posts, but the one-off bill permits the 83-year-old to pass the Chrysanthemum Throne to Crown Prince Naruhito, the eldest of his three children.
…Added to the abdication bill is a resolution that potentially questions whether women who marry outside the family have to rescind their royal rights.
…In addition to Princess Mako, there are six other unmarried princesses who could lose their imperial status if they marry commoners, raising the possibility that the royal family will soon not have enough members to carry out its public duties.
Conservatives maintain a change of this ilk could lead to the advent of female succession, unthinkable to some of Japan’s traditionalists.