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Japan's Diet cracks open the door for female-led Imperial houses

Lawmakers agree to study the matter as a way of keeping the royal family going

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Princess Mako is expected to become engaged to a commoner, possibly this summer.   © Kyodo

TOKYO Japanese lawmakers have agreed to study letting women remain in the Imperial family and establish their own branches after marriage. Current law stipulates that female Imperial family members who wed commoners lose their royal status.

A draft resolution, to be added to a bill designed to pave the way for Emperor Akihito's abdication, says debate on the creation of female-led family branches is "an important matter that cannot be postponed." It calls for discussion to begin quickly after the legislation is implemented, and for the results to be reported "speedily" to the Diet -- Japan's parliament.

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