TOKYO -- The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) has declared that it is in favor of opening the way for female members of the Imperial Family in the male line and male members in the female line to ascend to the Imperial Throne.
The CDP made the decision as it cleared points of contention in ensuring stable Imperial succession.
In the meantime, the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP), another key opposition party, said it agrees with allowing female members of the Imperial Family in the male line to accede to the throne as it unveiled a summary of its proposal to revise the Imperial House Law. However, it stopped short of supporting the idea of allowing those in the female line to ascend to the throne.
The current law limits those who are qualified to accede to the throne to male members of the Imperial Family in the male line.
When enacting a special law in June 2017 that allowed Emperor Akihito to abdicate in April 2019, the Diet passed an additional resolution calling for the executive branch to look into challenges posed to ensuring stable Imperial succession. Specifically, the resolution urges the administrative branch to consider whether to open the way for the establishment of Imperial Family branches headed by female members to allow them to stay in the Imperial Household after marrying commoners, among other issues.
The CDP and the DPFP released their respective views in apparent bids to take the initiative in discussions on Imperial succession, an issue that has drawn particular attention from the public, and urge the government to take action.
There are no prospects that a consensus can be formed on whether to allow Imperial Family members in the female line to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, which the CDP advocates.
Conservatives, the core of those supporting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, are strongly opposed to the idea, while the DPFP is of the view that it is premature to draw a conclusion on the idea as its leader Yuichiro Tamaki states.
However, CDP Secretary-General Tetsuro Fukuyama suggested that the party made the proposal in a bid to spur debate on the issue but it has no intention of submitting a bill to revise the Imperial House Law, saying such a move "could make the issue a political tool."
Moreover, Fukuyama said the CDP is cautious about incorporating its proposal in its campaign pledge for the upcoming House of Councillors election.
In contrast, the DPFP is poised to submit a bill to revise the Imperial House Law to the Diet during the ongoing regular session at the earliest and incorporate the proposal in its campaign pledge. The party believes there is room for compromise on its proposal to allow female members of the Imperial Family in the male line to accede to the throne because even conservatives within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party accept the idea.
Another opposition Japanese Communist Party (JCP) earlier this month declared that it is also in favor of allowing female members of the Imperial Family and male members in the female line to ascend to the Imperial Throne. "There is no rational basis for limiting those who are qualified to succeed to the throne to male members of the Imperial Family," said JCP Chairman Kazuo Shii.
(Japanese original by Minami Nomaguchi and Itsuo Tokubo, Political News Department)