Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has shown a cautious response to womens succession to the Japanese royal familys throne, Japanese media said yesterday.
Controversy will escalate, however, since the majority of Japanese believe women should be allowed to succeed to the throne.
On the revision of a law on succession, Hatoyama was quoted as saying, We should take time to discuss the matter with the people.
He had backed womens ascension to the throne. As an opposition party leader, he announced a revision to the Constitution in 2004 to lift a ban on womens ascension to the throne.
In a major turnaround, however, Hatoyama said Thursday, Time has passed and considering my position, this is no matter to be lightly dealt with.
In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Democratic Party of Japan pledged to change succession laws to let women take the throne. The party, however, withdrew the pledge from its platform in this years elections.
The issue first emerged when Emperor Akihito`s eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, failed to produce a male heir. When the emperors second son, Prince Akishino, produced a boy in 2006, however, the controversy abated.
A recent NHK survey, however, said 77 percent of the Japanese people want a woman to ascend to the throne, up from 71 percent in 2006.