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A government panel discussing ways to ensure stable imperial succession plans to compile a final report as early as this year, the panel's head, Atsushi Seike, said Tuesday.

Seike, a former president of Keio University, made the comments at a news conference after the panel met for the first time since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took office in October.

In July, the panel agreed to focus on two plans — allowing female members to retain their imperial family status after getting married and using the adoption system to restore the imperial family status of male descendants in the family's paternal line who have left the family.

Seike suggested that both plans will be included in the final report. He also said the panel plans to wrap up an outline of the final report when it next meets on Monday.

The 2017 law that enabled the abdication of former Emperor Akihito requires the government to promptly discuss ways to ensure stable imperial succession.

But the discussions stalled under former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Yoshihide Suga, Abe's successor, also held off the discussions to avoid such divisive issues from becoming a point of controversy ahead of the general election held in October.

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