Press Conference by Their Imperial Highness Crown Prince and Crown Princess Akishino on the Occasion of His Visit to Poland and Finland（2019）
I too have heard that, as you just mentioned, the social participation of women is at a high level, I think especially in Finland.
As regards the role expected of female members of the Imperial Family in Japan, my understanding is that the role expected of male members and female members of the Imperial Family is basically the same. Or in any case, at this moment I cannot imagine any specific different role for female members.
With regard to how kōmu*(translated into English as “official duties” for Question 3) are performed, kōmu, or shall we say, the Emperor’s acts in matters of state, are governed by the so-called “Act on Temporary Delegation of the Emperor’s Acts in Matters of State”, which enables the Emperor to make overseas visits. While the Emperor is abroad, His acts in matters of state are delegated to the Crown Prince* to perform in the Emperor’s name. And while the Emperor is abroad, when the Crown Prince is also unable to perform His acts in matters of state, for instance because he himself is overseas or otherwise absent, the Imperial Family member next in line following the Crown Prince performs the Emperor’s acts in matters of state, in the order stipulated in the Imperial House Law. It follows that of course it is possible for a female member of the Imperial Family to perform the Emperor’s acts in matters of state. However, as this pertains to the Emperor’s acts in matters of state, it is prescribed by law. As such, I think that the question of how kōmu are performed is not something for me to make any comment on.
And on the other point, the system for succession to the Throne, I refrain from giving an answer, because this matter also relates to the legal system.
The interviewer asked Question 3 using the Japanese word “kōmu” (translated into English as “official duties”), which Crown Prince Akishino understands to mean the Emperor’s acts in matters of state, among the many public activities of the Imperial Family, so His Highness answered the Question by mentioning the temporary delegation of the Emperor’s acts in matters of state.
There is currently no position of Kōtaishi (literally Crown Prince in Japanese). Crown Prince Akishino, the second son of Their Majesties the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita, has assumed the title of Kōshi (Imperial heir in Japanese) translated into English as Crown Prince.
Advancing in age is an inevitable fact of life, and it is quite natural for the scope of one’s activities to decrease as one advances in age. Taking this into account, although this does not relate to the Emperor’s acts in matters of state, which I mentioned earlier, naturally when thinking about the future, I believe that there may be some review of the scope of activities, other than kōmu, to be shouldered or performed by the Imperial Family. Of course if there is a new generation of Imperial Family members, the scope of activities may naturally broaden again. As a matter of fact, however, looking at the existing situation, I think that how things may evolve in the future is something that needs to be considered not only by us ourselves, but also by various people around us.
As there appears to be another question, please ask your question.