Originally Posted by Mandy
It all depends on Naruhito's courage because the IHA controls the purse strings and should he abdicate, he and Masako would be left relatively peniless. Who then buys the ticket to freedom? I'm not sure the IHA would let them have Aiko which means neither parent would leave without their child.
If Masako and Naruhito left they would be penniless is not correct. While the IHA holds the bulk of the money available to the Imperial family. Members of the Imperial family do have their own private money. A very modest amount when compared with other royal families. When Emperor Hirohito died, he left an estate of several hundred thousand dollars ( small in comparison with European royals) this money was inherited by his surviving children including 2 daughters that had left the Imperial Family through marriage. It was made known that Princess Sayako too will inherit money from her father, the Emperor even though she had left the Imperial Family.
The bulk of the money the IHA has control of, is the money that comes from the government, basically the Japanese taxpayer, and it's a considerable amount. The Japanese Imperial Family is one of the most expensive royal families when you see how much money comes from the government to support them. The IHA is answerable to the Japanese government.
Divorce rumours that are circulating are originating outside of Japan and doing the rounds of western and some Asian media, it's not a concerted effort to discredit Masako. Regardless of whether Kiko has a boy or girl, Naruhito will be Emperor and Masako Empress. Masako knew what she what she was agreeing to by marrying Naruhito. There would be no divorce, as Naruhito genuinely loves his wife and Masako would loose all access to Aiko if she divorced Naruhito. Not because of that "terrible IHA" but that's the way divorce laws work in Japan, even ordinary women who divorce and deemed at fault in the divorce loose access as well as custody of their children.
Duty and honour are important attributes to all royals and particularly the Japanese with their traditions, Naruhito won't leave and when he's Emperor he will be able to instigate changes as his father has also since becoming Emperor.
The succession law can only be changed by the Japanese parliament, the IHA is a bureaucracy but has no elected parliamentarians in it, so has no vote in the law change. There are however some extreme right wing parliamentarians who are totally opposed to female succession and they are the vocal opponents that could have the law thrown out.
The IHA is an enormous bureaucracy of over 7,000 people, each royal house hold is run separately, the Emperor's, the CP, Prince Akishino's and the minor royals. As the majority of Japanese institutions the people at the top are male ( only 9% of leadership and managerial positions in Japan are held by women, in contrast to western countries where depending on the country it ranges from 30-50%) but over the last 10 years well over half the staff that has been employed by the IHA has been women,( previously it had been basically all men) some will rise through the ranks and this will make a change in the way the agency is run.
Kiko has had as much pressure as Masako to have a son, over 3 years ago the now former IHA chief steward said publically that as far as what was best for the Imperial household he would like the CP couple to have a 2nd child and Akishino and Kiko to have a 3rd. In his 2003 and 2004 birthday interview Akishino was asked both times if he and his wife would have a 3rd child.
The set up around the households of the Japanese royals, reflects Japanese values of the collective ( the Imperial family) being more important than the individual ( Masako, Kiko etc) In general Japanese society this comes through that the company is more important than the family. Hence the postwar Japanese ecomomic miracle, Japanese employees working incredibly long hours and the fact that in the Japanese language there is a word for 'death by overwork'.
As far as the IHA not letting them have Aiko if N and M leave, when Charles and Diana divorced QEII had custodial responsiblity for William and Harry and I think she also has for Beatrice and Eugenie. Royal children, especially if they're high up on the succession line belong to the institution of the royal family rather than their parents.