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Japan princess likely to bear male heir

By Francis Chavez,2014-12-09 11:56
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Japan princess likely to bear male heir

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    ;Japan’s royal baby isn’t due for weeks, but popular magazines, never shy about probing the secrets of the great and famous, have already decided that the imperial family is about to welcome its first male heir in over 40 years.

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    ; Speculation over whether Princess Kiko, 39, the wife of the emperor’s younger son, will give birth to a boy has simmered since an announcement in February that she was pregnant with her third child.

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    ; But news last week that Kiko would probably give birth ahead of her late September due date through a Caesarean operation has prompted a spate of confident predictions by the tabloid media.

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    ; “The birth of a boy” trumpeted one headline in the weekly Shukan Post. Other magazines have run similar articles.

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    ; No males have been born into the imperial family since Kiko’s husband, Prince Akishino, in 1965 and the government had planned to introduce a bill to avert a succession crisis by revising a 1947 law to give women equal rights to inherit the throne.

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    ; Kiko’s pregnancy, however, prompted the government to put off the plan, which was bitterly opposed by conservatives keen to preserve a males-only tradition they say stretches back more than 2,000 years.

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    ; The Imperial Household Agency, which handles royal affairs, is maintaining a frosty silence on the question of gender.

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    ; “We don’t know, and we would not comment about it if we did,” a spokesman for the agency said. “The parents themselves say they don’t want to know until the baby is born.”

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    ; But the mention of a Caesarean has many magazines speculating that special care is being taken to ensure the safe birth of a male heir, and royal watchers agree that the baby’s gender may already be known.

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