Tokyo, Aug. 25 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono, who is seen as a possible candidate to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is drawing flak from conservative lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for suggesting that members of the Imperial Family’s maternal lineage should be allowed to become Emperor.
Discussions about how to ensure stable Imperial succession have not picked up under the Abe administration as he and conservative stalwarts remain firmly supportive of allowing only male offspring in the family’s paternal line to ascend the throne, as stipulated by the Imperial House Law. It is unclear whether the comments by Kono will spark a conversation on the subject, critics say.
On an internet broadcast on Sunday, Kono proposed that female members of the Imperial Family remain in the family after marriage. Under the law, such women must leave the family.
“If there are no boys in the Imperial Family, there is nothing we can do. So, one option is to make the children of women in the Family, beginning with (a future child of) Princess Aiko, assume the throne,” he said, albeit noting that maintaining the male-line Imperial succession system is most desirable. He has previously called for allowing maternal-lineage succession in a blog post in 2016.
Princess Aiko, 18, is the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.