There has been a collective sigh of relief in Japan following news that there is now a male heir to the throne. Princess Kiko has given birth to a baby boy. Her husband Prince Akishino is second in line to the throne. His brother Crown Prince Naruhito who is 46 will succeed his father, the Emperor Akihito. However there has been a succession crisis until now within the Royal household because the Crown Princess has given birth to a girl Aiko and under Japanese law only males are allowed to succeed to the throne. The Emperor himself seemed very relieved at the news that his second son and wife had given birth to a baby boy. And Japanese commuters in Tokyo also seemed pleased especially as royal births in Japan tend to be associated with a booming economy.
However modernisers say the Japanese establishment has missed an opportunity to update the Imperial household. There had been talk in Parliament of changing the law to allow women to become Empress. Now 4 year old Princess Aiko won’t get that chance.