Japan’s Princess Aiko is set to hold her first press conference on 17 March.
This is the press conference for her 20th birthday – the coming of age in Japan – that was postponed due to her university education.
Imperial Family members traditionally hold a press conference when they come of age, but the press conference was pushed back to allow the Princess to not interrupt her studies.
Her press conference will take place during her spring break. An Imperial Household Agency official said that this was “the best period for the Princess to consider answers to questions from the press while feeling that she became an adult.”
Aiko is a student at Gakushuin University studying Japanese language and literature.
Now that she is an adult, Princess Aiko will undertake royal duties, but the Imperial Household has said her studies will come first. Her first public working event was the New Year celebration in 2022.
Princess Aiko was born on 1 December 2001 as the only child of then-Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. Although her father is now the Emperor of Japan, Aiko is not in the line of succession as Japan does not allow women to reign in their own right. They must also leave the Imperial Family upon marriage to a commoner (their only option) and renounce their titles.
First in line to the throne is the Emperor’s younger brother, Crown Prince Akishino. He is followed by his only son, 15-year-old Prince Hisahito. Taking the third and last place in the line of succession is Emperor Emeritus Akihito’s younger brother, Prince Hitachi, 86.
There have been many debates and discussions in the government about changing the laws in Japan to allow women to head their own branches of the family and retain their titles after marriage. There has been some discussion about allowing female empresses, and the majority of the Japanese public supports the idea. This is in response to the dwindling number of Imperial Family members and the small line of succession.