Female imperial family members to be barred from key succession rite
Japan Today -- Jan 18
The government decided Thursday only male adult imperial family members will attend one of the key ceremonies to mark Crown Prince Naruhito's ascension to the throne on May 1, following the example set by Emperor Akihito's enthronement in 1989.

The government will allow only male adults from the imperial family to attend the ceremony because the Imperial Household Law stipulates that only males can ascend the throne and minor members customarily do not take part in succession rites.

But excluding female members could be viewed as being out of touch with the times.

In contrast, the government will allow female cabinet ministers to participate in the rite on the grounds that they are unrelated to the imperial succession and would be attending as observers.

Currently, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has only one female minister -- Satsuki Katayama, in charge of regional revitalization. She would be allowed to attend the ceremony if she remains in the post.

When Emperor Akihito ascended the throne in January 1989 following the death of his father, Emperor Hirohito, the attendants were all male. The cabinet at the time, under Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita, had no female ministers.

The 58-year-old crown prince will ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne a day after Emperor Akihito, 85, abdicates on April 30 as the first living Japanese monarch to do so in about 200 years.

The "Kenji to Shokei no Gi" ceremony, in which the new emperor inherits traditional regalia such as the sacred sword and jewels as proof of accession to the throne, will commence at 10:30 a.m. on May 1 at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, with cabinet ministers, Diet leaders and the chief justice of the Supreme Court taking part.

Prince Fumihito, the 53-year-old younger son of the emperor, and Prince Hitachi, the 83-year-old younger brother of the emperor, will be the only participants from the imperial family.

News source: Japan Today
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