Japan panel OKs emperor's abdication, skirts succession

A Japanese government panel on Friday endorsed Emperor Akihito's apparent desire to abdicate as an exception, but avoided a key question of succession amid a declining royal population.


The report detailed procedures such as the title, status and roles for an abdicated emperor and his heir, but avoided divisive issues

such as whether women should be included in the current male-only succession amid concerns about the shrinking royal population, including successors to the throne.


Akihito has two sons, but only one of his four grandchildren is male. Under the current Imperial House law, only male descendants can inherit the title, and female members are stripped of their royal status when they marry a commoner.