The Crown Princess is pregnant with a possible heir to the Imperial Throne, nearly eight years after marrying the Crown Prince, the Imperial Household Agency announced Tuesday.
“The Crown Princess is three months pregnant and is in good condition. She is expected to give birth between late November and early December,” said Kiyoshi Furukawa, grand master of the Crown Prince’s household.
Speaking at a news conference, Furukawa warned the media not to get carried away in reporting the Crown Princess’ pregnancy, saying, “Please remain calm.”
Agency officials said medical tests conducted by doctors at the Crown Prince’s Palace have confirmed the Crown Princess’ pregnancy and that she is in good condition.
If the 37-year-old princess gives birth to a boy, the baby will be second in line to the Imperial Throne after the Crown Prince, 41.
Confirmation of the pregnancy was reported to the Emperor and the Empress on Monday, agency officials said.
Osamu Tsutsumi, a gynecology professor at the University of Tokyo specially assigned to the Crown Prince’s Palace in March, and a group of palace doctors will oversee the pregnancy.
Asked whether a gender test will be conducted, Furukawa said, “We are not thinking of that at all.”
The baby will be the third grandchild for the Emperor and Empress. Prince Akishino, younger brother of the Crown Prince, and his wife, Princess Akishino, have two daughters: 9-year-old Princess Mako and 6-year-old Princess Kako.
Rumors that the Crown Princess might be pregnant surfaced in late March, and the agency said April 16 that it was possible she was pregnant.
She had canceled a visit to Kyoto scheduled for April 4 and did not attend a luncheon for the Lithuanian president and his wife on April 10.
After the April 16 announcement, the Crown Princess canceled nearly all scheduled appearances. , including a visit to Okinawa and a welcome luncheon for the Uruguayan president.
A dinner at the Imperial Palace on April 18 to celebrate Princess Nori’s 32nd birthday was the only time the Crown Princess ventured out of the Crown Prince’s Palace in a month. Princess Nori is the only daughter of the Imperial Couple.
The Crown Princess is expected to keep her official duties to a minimum in consideration of her physical condition and is expected to give birth at the Hospital of the Imperial Household.
The Crown Princess suffered a miscarriage in 1999, causing her to withdraw from official engagements for several weeks until her husband’s 40th birthday on Feb. 23, 2000.
“I am delighted, indeed,” Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters Tuesday evening after hearing the Imperial Household Agency’s announcement that the Crown Princess is expecting a baby.
“After a long time I am hearing such happy news,” Koizumi said. “I just hope a healthy baby will be born.”
Asked about the Liberal Democratic Party’s current discussion on whether to revise the Imperial Household Law to allow a female to ascend the throne, the prime minister said he will watch as the discussion within the ruling party develops.
A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the government should wait to learn the gender of the baby, who — if it’s a boy — will be ranked second in the succession order to the throne after the Crown Prince, before discussing revisions to the Imperial Law.
“It is really a matter of congratulation and joyful news,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda. “I sincerely hope the princess will have (a baby) in good health.”
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