Thursday, February 09, 2006

Taking one for the team.......

Here in Japan, there are some hopeful sighs of relief.

Princess Kiko is pregnant. "The Imperial Household Agency announced that Princess Kiko, the wife of Emperor Akihito's second son, is pregnant. She is expected to have the baby in September or October."- Japan Times

In bars and sushi houses near Kudanshita, you can guess what the guys must be saying, "Well , with luck, I guess we can put that female succession bill back on the shelf...". After all if she has a boy, with modern medical advances, Japan might be able to put off a female succession crisis for a 100 years. And by then cloning might be perfected............Otherwise, it might be back to concubines......

Watch how quickly the politicians are backing away from the issue of female succession to the throne:

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe backed off Wednesday from their earlier pledge to quickly get a bill passed that would allow a female on the Chrysanthemum Throne. Koizumi had maintained through Tuesday that he wanted the change to the paternal-line Imperial succession system to be enacted during the current Diet session.

But on Wednesday, during a session of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, he said, "It is desirable that each (political) party and the Diet first create a framework for discussion and talk about it calmly and cautiously.

"We will make a decision only after seeing the results" of these discussions, Koizumi said in response to a question from Ryuzo Sasaki of the Democratic Party of Japan, who asked if Koizumi will try to get the bill passed during this legislative session, which is scheduled to end in mid-June.

Abe, the point man for the government-sponsored bill, also declined comment on the state's self-imposed deadline of this Diet session.

He said during his daily news conference that no decision has been made yet on when the bill would be submitted.
The government was pushing the bill because no boys have been born into the Imperial family since 1965, raising serious concerns over the survival of the male-only Imperial line.

But the news of Princess Kiko's pregnancy changed the situation overnight, providing ammunition to conservative politicians arguing that the bill should be put on the back burner to allow more time for discussions on the centuries-old system. If she has a boy, he would be third in line to the throne, following Crown Prince Naruhito, 45, and the princess' husband, Prince Akishino, 40.

"This is good, bright news," said Nihon University professor Akira Momochi, an expert on constitutional issues and an advocate of maintaining the paternal-line succession system. He argued that ending the male-only succession could jeopardize the legitimacy of the Imperial system, which is believed to have been consistently maintained through the paternal bloodline over centuries. If a female monarch married a commoner and their descendants were allowed to reign, it would be considered a dynastic change, Momochi said. Now with the expected fall childbirth, the government should withdraw the bill and start debating Imperial succession from scratch, he said.

Japundit has more coverage of this. Reminding us that nothing is certain when it comes to Imperial succession, unlike some other things in Japan:


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