• Kyodo, Staff Report


A whopping 81.9 percent of Japanese people have said they are in favor of having a reigning empress, while 13.5 percent are against it, according to a recent survey.

The Kyodo News poll, released Sunday, showed that 70 percent of the respondents said they would support an emperor or a reigning empress from the female line, meaning that the monarch’s mother would have descended from the imperial family rather than their father.

Such female successions would mark a departure from modern imperial tradition. Before the enactment of the former 1889 Imperial House Law, eight women reigned as empresses between 592 and 1770, although they and their successors were all from the male line.

After the enactment of the 1889 law under the Meiji Government, only males of the male line have been legally allowed to ascend to the imperial throne.

The 1889 law was replaced with a new Imperial House Law after World War II, but the succession rules were retained.

In recent years, however, public calls for revising the postwar Imperial House Law have grown considerably because the imperial family has only one young potential successor — Prince Hisahito, 13 — which raises questions over the sustainability of the male-only tradition.

The Kyodo News poll also showed that the approval rating for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has risen 1.1 percentage points, to 54.1 percent, since the previous poll earlier this month.

The disapproval rate was 34.5 percent, up 0.3 percentage point, according to the poll.

In the nationwide telephone poll, which was conducted over the weekend, 75.0 percent of respondents said the resignation of Isshu Sugawara as trade minister on Friday over a gift scandal was appropriate.

The survey said 48.3 percent think Sugawara should also step down as a member of the House of Representatives.

In contrast, 17.8 percent said they thought Sugawara did not have to quit his post as minister of economy, trade and industry, and 43.5 percent indicated that he does not need to resign as a lawmaker.

An overwhelming 81.3 percent of respondents felt the two-tier consumption tax system, exempting food and beverage items from the increased tax rate in a bid to cushion its impact on consumer spending, was “complicated.”

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party was supported by 44.6 percent of respondents, up 2.5 percent percentage points from the previous poll. The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan was supported by 8.5 percent of respondents, while the LDP’s coalition partner, Komeito, garnered 4.2 percent.

The survey, covering 732 randomly selected households with eligible voters as well as 1,282 mobile phone numbers, obtained responses from 505 and 504 people, respectively.

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