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Statement: Implications of Japan’s new emperor

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Caiti Goodman, 202.478.3437 (O), 202.361.0254 (C), [email protected]

Statement: Implications of Japan’s new emperor

In reaction to the ascension of Emperor Naruhito, Stimson Senior Fellow and Co-director of the East Asia program put out the following statement:

“On May 1, 2019, Crown Prince Naruhito became the 126th emperor in Japan, starting the Reiwa era.  The Emperor and Empress are a symbol of unity for Japanese people.  This moment – the transition from the Heisei to Reiwa era – once again demonstrates that Japan and its people, as much as modernity has transformed the country, continue to hold some tradition central to national identity. As the nation celebrates the beginning of the new imperial era, however, the country should also restart a conversation about the future of the Imperial family and the role that gender plays in the line of succession. Current law dictates that only male members of the Imperial Family can succeed the throne; women in the family leave the Imperial Household when they marry. It is a rule that could jeopardize the sustainability of the Imperial Family and a question that parallels an ongoing public conversation in Japan about two societal challenges: aging, and the role of women in Japanese society.”


Yuki Tatsumi is a Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the East Asia Program and Director of the Japan Program at the Stimson Center. Before joining Stimson, Tatsumi worked as a research associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and as the special assistant for political affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington.

Tatsumi’s most recent publication includes International Disaster Response: Rebuilding the Quad, part of the Views from the Next Generation newest series (ed.; Stimson Center, 2019)

Read Yuki Tatsumi’s full bio.

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