TOKYO -- With the ascension of the new Emperor Naruhito to the throne on May 1, 2019, his younger brother Akishino has become "Koshi" (Crown Prince) and first in line to the throne.
Crown Prince Akishino's son, Prince Hisahito, 12, becomes second in line, followed by Prince Hitachi, 83, the younger brother of Emperor Emeritus Akihito.
Prince Hisahito, born in September 2006, became the first male heir born in the Imperial Family in 41 years. The Imperial House Law stipulates that only males can succeed to the Imperial Throne, and that any women marrying outside the Imperial Family lose their status as an Imperial Family member.
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have a daughter, Princess Aiko, who was born in December 2001.
The former Emperor Akihito became Emperor Emeritus as of May 1 in accordance with a special law allowing his abdication. The former Empress Michiko became Empress Emerita.