Japan PM scraps female royal succession plan

[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [official profile] has decided not to submit a bill to parliament that would allow women to succeed to the throne, Japanese media reported Friday. Koizumi had supported a proposal [JURIST report] that would change the country's male-only succession law, the 1947 Imperial Household Law [text], to allow female monarchs, but cooled his support [JURIST report] earlier this week after it was made public that Princess Kiko is pregnant. No male heir has been born in the royal family for over 40 years.

Although public opinion favored the change, Koizumi faced strong opposition from conservative lawmakers, mostly from his own Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) [party website]. Opponents of the bill have strongly recommended waiting to see if the baby is a boy before introducing the change. Princess Kiko, the wife of the emperor's second son Prince Akishino, is due in September or October. Reuters has more.

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