A good blog post on Japan’s imperial system can be found here (Thanks Metroblogging Tokyo). Anyway, here’s the story:
Asahi.com via Goo News:
PM Koizumi’s personal advisory panel, “The Council of Advisers on Imperial Family Standards” gave their 6th meeting on May 31, asking the opinions of 4 experts in a public conference. Their stances were divided along the lines of maintaining the current male imperial line system, allowing a female emperor, and allowing a female emperor only if taken from the mother’s side.
The panel consisted of: Professor Yasuo Ohara of Kokugakuin (Religion and politics), Asst. Professor Shuji Yagi of Takazaki School of Economics (Constitutional Law), Koji Takahashi of Shizuoka University of Welfare (Imperial Family Studies), and Koichi Yokota of Ryutsu Keizai University (Constitutional Law)
Both Ohara and Yagi supported the patrilineal system. Ohara explained, “The fact that we have followed a male imperial line consistently is the root of our national integration’s power,” and Yagi went on to say, “It is not for modern people to change a male line that has continued unabated for 125 generations.” Both suggested either restoring the old prince system or adoption.
Going further, Professor Ohara explained, “Going with a female line would call the legitimacy of the imperial family into question, with some seeing it as a ‘chance to abolish the imperial system.’” He stressed that changing tradition to allow a female emperor might lead to the end of Japan’s imperial system.
Yagi gave historical examples of emperors such as Emperors Keitai and Koukaku that ascended to the throne despite being “virtually unrelated” to the imperial line.
Meanwhile, Professor Takahashi expressed his opinion that Japan should allow a female emperor. When asked why, he responded, “The basic question of who is most suitable to ascend to the throne is whether he (or she) will be widely supported.” As for the order of succession, Takahashi believes that the first-born is best since it is easy to determine.
Professor Yokota also approved of a female emperor. He added, “Unreasonable suggestions such as an adoption system or restoration of the nobility, or changing tradition in order to allow a female emperor will raise the question of whether there is a need to adhere to the imperial system.”
The advisory panel plans to enter into detailed discussion on the matter on June 8th after asking the opinions of 4 other experts.