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Japan's imperial family: Panel offers 2 ways to stem shrinking ranks

Allowing women wedded to commoners and restoring male distant relatives proposed

Japan's Princess Aiko, who recently turned 20, is the only child of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- A Japanese government panel on Wednesday settled on a pair of proposals to keep the imperial family from shrinking in size, but the body stopped short of giving recommendations on the line of succession.

One option would have female members of the imperial family retain their royal status even after marrying a commoner. The other choice would be to reinstate distant male relatives as part of the royal family.

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