Kishida gives diet plans to bolster imperial family ranks|Arab News Japan

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TOKYO: Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio informed the chairs of both chambers of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, on Wednesday of two plans proposed by a panel of experts to shore up the shrinking ranks of the Imperial Family.

One of the proposals set out in the panel’s final report late last year would allow female members of the Imperial Family to retain their Imperial status even after marriage to commoners. The other calls for reinstating by adoption male offspring of the paternal line from former family branches.

During talks with the leaders of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, and the House of Councillors, the upper chamber, Kishida said, “The government respects the report.”

Kishida handed the report to Lower House Speaker Hiroyuki Hosoda and Vice Speaker Banri Kaieda, as well as Upper House President Akiko Santo and Vice President Toshio Ogawa.

Hosoda expressed his readiness to convene representatives of parliamentary groups to launch discussions early next week. Chief Cabinet Secretary MATSUNO Hirokazu is due to explain details of the report to parliamentary groups on Tuesday.

In a joint statement, the parliamentary leaders said that following the example of discussions held when the Diet allowed then Emperor Akihito to abdicate, a meeting of representatives from political parties and parliamentary groups will initially be held to hear the government’s detailed explanations on the final report, and parties and parliamentary groups will then be asked to hold their own discussions.

Hosoda voiced his intention not to reach a hasty conclusion. “We plan to secure sufficient time for discussions,” he told reporters.

Santo said, “As a legislative body, we will discuss the issue sincerely and cautiously.”

The report, compiled by the panel, headed by Atsushi Seike, former president of Keio University, did not present any drastic proposal to ensure stable Imperial succession, such as allowing women or anyone in the Imperial Family’s maternal lineage to ascend the throne.

As only male descendants in the family’s paternal bloodline currently can assume the throne, there are concerns about the falling number of eligible heirs.

With the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and others accusing the panel report of putting off substantive discussions, consensus-building among ruling and opposition parties about specific measures is expected to be difficult.

When the special law was enacted in 2017 to allow then Emperor Akihito to relinquish the throne, the Diet in a supplementary resolution demanded that the government discuss ways to ensure stable Imperial succession and submit a report on the results of the discussions.

JIJI Press

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