In a new Japanese study by Kyodo News, there is high support for Japan’s new ruler, Emperor Naruhito, as well as for females sitting on the throne.
In a survey taken by Kyodo News, over 82 per cent of respondents feel affection for and support Emperor Naruhito. Likewise, close to 80 per cent support the idea of a female reigning one day in her own right.
The opinion poll was done over two days after Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement. According to the news organisation, 82.5 per cent show affection to the new Emperor while 11.3 per cent does not.
Regarding females ascending the throne to reign in their own right, 79.6 per cent expressed support for the idea. However, 13.3 per cent would not support a woman ascending the throne.
At the moment, Japan operates under agnatic primogeniture, meaning only men can ascend the throne. The Japanese Imperial Family has more female members than male members meaning that the line of succession only has three people: 53-year-old Prince Fumihito (the younger brother of the Emperor), Prince Hisahito of Akishino (the 12-year-old nephew of the Emperor), and 83-year-old Prince Masahito (the uncle of the Emperor).
Under current Imperial Household Law, not only can females not ascend the throne, they must renounce their titles and leave the Imperial Family if they marry a commoner. As a result, the number of Imperial Household members keeps dwindling.
Emperor Naruhito took the throne on 1 May 2019 after the abdication of his father, then-Emperor Akihito (now Emperor Emeritus) on 30 April 2019. Akihito was the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in over 200 years.
A special law had to be enacted to allow Emperor Akihito to abdicate. When it was passed, the Japanese government said they would open up discussions again on female ascension.
Naruhito and his wife, Empress Masako only have one child, Princess Aiko, who is not eligible to ascend the throne under the current law. Aiko, Princess Toshi will turn 18 in December.