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The Japanese Imperial family may be expanded by law


The Japanese Imperial family may be expanded and this by a new law, not by newborn royals or marriage. This was first reported by “The Japan Times” following a new proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. They propose to let some ex-imperial family members back into the family.

A conservative group within the Liberal Democratic Party has submitted a proposal to Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to allow men from abolished branches of the imperial family to regain their royal status as a measure to ensure stable succession to the Imperial throne.

Article 2 of the Constitution of Japan provides that The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and succeeded to in accordance with the Imperial Household. The Imperial Household Law of 1947 retained the exclusion on female dynasts found in the 1889 law. The law states that only legitimate male descendants in the male line can be heir to the throne and that the Emperor and other members of the imperial family may not adopt children.

The Imperial family of Japan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A group from LDP has now proposed enabling unmarried male members of the former branches to join the imperial family through adoption or marriage, if they want to. The group want to establish a new law to bring back members from no more than 11 branches that left the imperial family in 1947.  

The idea has not been widely supported by the public, with a majority of respondents being in favour of allowing women to succeed to the throne in opinion polls. Emperor Naruhito`s daughter Princess Aiko, who is currently 17 years old, is clearly favoured by the Japanese people to be the next monarch of Japan.

The Liberal Democratic Party is a conservative and nationalist party in Japan who currently runs the government and holds the post of prime minster through its leader Shinzo Abe. The Party won 284 seats in the parliament in the last election in 2017 and is the largest political party in Japan with 33% of the voters.



About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.