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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Wednesday he would support a woman’s ascension to Japan’s Imperial Throne, throwing his weight behind a proposal within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to revise the current Imperial House Law.

“Personally, I think a female ’emperor’ is fine,” Koizumi told reporters at his official residence.

“I haven’t heard how the discussion on the issue will be handled. But I would like people to have thorough discussions as it will be a big issue in the future,” he added.

LDP politicians in the past were generally not supportive of the idea of a woman ascending to the throne.

“I hope they will study the matter well, as it is likely to become a big issue,” said the prime minister, whose comments come in the wake of the recent announcement that the Crown Princess may be pregnant.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda made similar comments during a news conference earlier in the day.

“In my personal opinion, I think that is something that could be realized in the future,” he said. “But there is the question of tradition involved, and I have not thought very deeply about it.”

Fukuda said that any discussions on the matter should first be carried out by the LDP.

“At this point, the government has no plans to take steps on this issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Hatoyama said the same day that three opposition party leaders are supportive of allowing women to ascend to the throne.

During a meeting last month with Social Democratic Party leader Takako Doi and Liberal Party head Ichiro Ozawa, the three said female members of the Imperial family should be able to ascend to the throne, he said.

Promulgated in 1947 and implemented in 1948, the current law stipulates that only a male member of the Imperial family can ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

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