[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party leader Junichiro Koizumi [official profile] pledged to introduce a bill to reform the 1947 Imperial Household Law [text], allowing women to ascend to the country's imperial throne [JURIST report] during his annual keynote speech to parliament Friday. Under current law, a male must ascend to the throne, but no male has been born to the family since Prince Akishino [official profile] in 1965. The proposed change would place four-year-old Princess Aiko in the order of succession behind her father, Crown Prince Naruhito [official profile]. In addition, Koizumi restated his intent to step down in September when his current term ends, questioned a national referendum on revisions to the country's pacifist constitution [JURIST report], and promised to further improve relations with China and South Korea. BBC News has more.