• The Associated Press


The head of the Imperial Household Agency has warned that last week’s birth of the first male heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne in four decades did not resolve the Imperial family’s succession crisis, an official of the agency said Wednesday.

The birth of Prince Hisahito was hailed by conservatives as averting a crisis in the Imperial system, which allows only males from the male line to reign but was in desperate need of a successor.

Until his birth, Emperor Akihito’s sons Prince Akishino and Crown Prince Naruhito had had three daughters between them but no sons.

Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Shingo Haketa said the royal family’s future is still shaky.

“Even though the prince has been born, that does not take away the problem over the stability of Imperial succession,” he was quoted as saying by Imperial Household Agency spokesman Yasuo Moriyama.

Haketa’s comments were made Tuesday, as the new prince was being named. In a traditional rite at the Tokyo hospital where he and Princess Kiko are resting, the new prince was named Hisahito, which means “virtuous, calm and long life.”

Haketa did not elaborate on how the succession crisis should be solved.

The Imperial House Law of 1947 allows only men to take the throne, meaning the new prince is third and last in line.

Leaving hospital

Princess Kiko and her newborn son, Prince Hisahito, are scheduled to leave the Tokyo hospital on Friday where they have been staying since his birth on Oct. 6, an Imperial Household Agency official said.

Both Hisahito, the first male born into the Imperial family in four decades, and his mother are doing well and are slated to check out on Friday, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The birth of the prince was hailed by traditionalists for forestalling a crisis in one of the world’s oldest monarchies.

By law, only males can reign and the Imperial line was in desperate need of a successor to the Chrysanthemum Throne.

See related links:
Preparing young Prince Hisahito for the throne
Newborn prince is named Hisahito
Birth of a male has raised profile of ‘second princess’
Emperor and Empress meet new grandson
Princess Kiko delivers a boy
Politicians happy to put off royal debate
Views on succession system remain split
Fans, patients, shop owners weigh in on Imperial birth
New prince becomes the third in line to assume Chrysanthemum Throne
Newborn prince to get 3 million yen stipend
Shares in baby goods take a dive after birth
Imperial rivalries are grist for media mill
Many pairs fancy sex selection over nature’s course
Royal boy will put off succession crisis, not solve it

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