The Japanese government is considering giving government posts to female Imperial Family members after they have lost their imperial status upon marriage to commoners. This would allow them to continue their royal work after leaving the Imperial Family.
Informed government sources have said this is one way the government is considering addressing the declining numbers of the Japanese Imperial Family.
Currently, Japanese law requires women to leave the Imperial Family and lose their imperial status upon marriage to a commoner. As such, the family’s numbers continue to dwindle. At the moment, the family has 13 female members, six of whom are not married – including Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako’s 18-year-old daughter, Princess Aiko.
The Emperor’s niece, Princess Mako, is engaged, but her wedding has been postponed due to a financial controversy involving her fiancé’s family and the pandemic.
The last female to leave the Imperial Family was former Princess Ayako (now Ayako Moriya) who married in October 2018. She and her husband, Kei, have now one son.
Women are also not allowed to inherit the throne. There are only three people in the line of succession: Crown Prince Akishino (54), Prince Hisahito (14) and Prince Hitachi (84).