There have been of scenes of celebration across Japan at the news that a male successor to the imperial throne has been born.
Some traditionalists shouted out: “Long live the Emperor” and “Long life to the infant.”
There has been blanket coverage of the news that Princess Kiko who is married to the Emperor’s younger son has given birth to a baby boy. There has been no male birth in the royal household for the past four decades.
Until now the royal family had been in a state of uncertainty because Crown Prince Naruhito who is next in line to the throne has a daughter but no son and in Japan only males can become monarch.
The Emperor was beaming like any proud grandfather at the news of the royal birth but the issue of whether the law allowing male – only emperors in Japan should be changed is back on the agenda.
Parliament had begun discussing whether women should be allowed to ascend the throne. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also weighed in saying “there is no guarantee that there will always be a male heir available. For the future if we don’t accept female emperors the succession issue will remain difficult.”
If women were allowed to become empress then four-year-old Princess Aiko would be second in line to the throne. However with the male birth it now seems the highly sensitive issue has been averted, for now at least.