Hisashi Owada, the father of Crown Princess Masako, will soon step down from his role as an International Court of Justice (ICJ) judge in the Netherlands to return to Japan, a source close to the government revealed on Feb. 6.
It was initially intended that Owada would continue in his ICJ role at The Hague until his term expired in 2021. However, it is thought that the government has decided to cut his term short, taking into account the fact his daughter is set to become the Empress of Japan, in tandem with Crown Prince Naruhito's ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, scheduled for May 1, 2019.
Prior to becoming an ICJ judge in 2003, Owada also held roles such as vice-minister for foreign affairs and ambassador to the United Nations. In 2009, he became the first Japanese person to become president of the ICJ, and continued working at the organization even after stepping down as president in 2012.
As for Owada's successor, who will be chosen in an election, the government is thinking of recommending professor Yuji Iwasawa of the University of Tokyo.