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Josefine 03-04-2003 05:56 AM

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3 MARCH 2003
The Japanese monarchy is reportedly working on plans to give women access to the throne. It is believed that Crown Prince Naruhito intends to change the constitution so that his daughter, little Princess Aiko, can become the country's first empress in 250 years.

One-year-old Aiko is the crown prince's only child and Japanese courtiers say that a change to the law may be necessary if he and his 39-year-old wife Masako do not have a son soon.

The couple spent eight years trying for a baby – and suffered one miscarriage – before Aiko was born in 2001. And while the proud parents are obviously overjoyed with their child, Palace sources point out that a boy has not been born into the family for 37 years. Legal amendments to allow Aiko accession are therefore being considered, despite the concerns of some traditionalists.

Sources at the Imperial Household have expressed concern that such a fundamental change in the system could provoke a wider debate on the very existence of the monarchy.

Emperor Akihito has shown, however, that he is unafraid of public discourse. In the 15 years since he took the helm of the 1500-year-old monarchy, the emperor has been discreetly modernising its institutions and practices.

If he were to clear a path for Aiko to become empress, the 43-year-old crown prince would also be striking a significant blow for women in Japan. The symbolic importance of a female leader might prove very important for a country where women are still poorly represented in politics and business.

Josefine 08-24-2003 07:02 AM

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Japanese Princess Aiko ©, accompanied by her parents Crown Prince Naruhito (L) and Crown Princess Masako, waves to well-wishers from a bullet train at Tokyo railway station August 23, 2003. The royal family was departing for their summer villa in Nasu, north of Tokyo. REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama

Josefine 08-24-2003 07:05 AM

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Tina 08-24-2003 07:36 AM

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leaving hospital - 2001, December 9th

lasu 09-04-2003 01:08 PM

Princess Aiko Visits Her Maternal Grandparents at Home

Twenty-one-month-old Princess Aiko of Japan made her first visit to the home of her maternal grandparents this week. Accompanied by her mum, Crown Princess Masako, the toddler was warmly welcomed by Hisashi and Yumiko Owada at their Tokyo residence.

The release of the intimate photos of the visit was further evidence of the new openness of approach adopted by the Japanes royal family in recent times.

Although Japan's laws of succession do not currently allow a female to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, the Aiko's birth sparked much debate on the subject. Her parents had been trying to conceive for eight years before Crown Princess Masako suffered a miscarriage in 1999, making Aiko's arrival in 2001 - after the princess was treated by one of Japan's leading fertility specialists - an especially joyous occasion.

The fact remains, however, that no male heir has been born into the family for nearly four decades, leading to the subject of female accession becoming even more pressing.

"This is a politically sensitive issue, so we can't publicly admit we are researching the possibility," a senior palace source has said. "But as a matter of fact we are, and we would be negligent not to."

Should Crown Prince Naruhito, 43, and 39-year-old Masako not have a male offspring in the next few years, resulting in constitutional change, it would transform the status of women in one of the world's most conservative societies.

If she does end up ascending to the throne, Aiko would be the first Empress in two and a half centuries to reign over the world's oldest hereditary monarchy.

almab 10-31-2003 12:15 AM

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As a thank you for all the wonderful pictures of Aiko that I was able to add to my collection from this board, I am posting some that I did not see here!

almab 10-31-2003 12:21 AM

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Isn't she precious?

almab 10-31-2003 12:22 AM

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Two more shots at 6 months old

almab 10-31-2003 12:24 AM

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Princess Aiko and Mother 8/22/02

almab 10-31-2003 12:29 AM

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Aiko and Mother 8/27/02

almab 10-31-2003 12:30 AM

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aiko 5/14/02

almab 10-31-2003 12:39 AM

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Princess Aiko at Naming Ceremony in her ivory silk robe 3/13/02

almab 10-31-2003 12:40 AM

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another view of Aiko at naming ceremony

almab 10-31-2003 12:55 AM

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jun5 11-03-2003 01:44 PM

Thank you for your posting them, almab :flower:

They are very nice pics!

Josefine 12-06-2003 05:57 AM

Hi I want to do some fanart
but i need some good pictures of the princess can you help me?

Poppy 12-06-2003 08:58 AM

Aiko is very cute and adorable. After seeing the news, it's clear that her parents love her sooo much. She's so lucky to have been her parents' only sweetheart and especially her daddy's.

almab 12-20-2003 01:57 AM

Thanks for posting these, they are really good!

paulette 12-22-2003 12:14 PM

nice pictures!
She is really very cute. I love her cheeks and her eyes. :)

Alexandria 01-09-2004 12:39 PM

Yahoo News

Princess Masako admits pressure of living in Japan's royal family

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's Crown Princess Masako, a 40-year-old former elite diplomat, said that the pressure of living in the world's oldest royal dynasty might have led to her recent poor health.

"Since my marriage some 10 years ago, I have always tried to do my utmost under the great pressure of an environment with which I was not familiar," she said Friday in a comment released by the Imperial Household Agency.

She added that "mental and physical weariness" had been accumulated, particularly after the birth of her only child in 2001, resulting in her bout with shingles which emerged last month.

The wife of 43-year-old Crown Prince Naruhito, the first in line to the Chrysanthemum throne, has cancelled her official duties for a few months since her five-day hospitalisation a month earlier.

On December 1, the couple's only child, Princess Aiko, celebrated her second birthday. Aiko's birth came eight years after Naruhito and Masako were married in 1993, ending an anxious wait by the nation.

Masako, who was born into the family of a prominent diplomat and graduated from the elite US university of Harvard, said she had tried her best to perform her official duties since Aiko's birth.

"But ... my condition has deteriorated to a point where I could not fully perform my official duties recently," she said.

Masako added that she took it upon herself to rest up mentally and physically with the aim of returning to her official duties in top condition "as soon as possible".

The comment with all its candor may reflect the more open role expected of Japan's royal family after its emperor was reduced from the demi-god of Shintoism to a mere "symbol" of the people's unity after World War II.

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