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Japan PM slows support for female succession proposal

[JURIST] Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [official profile; BBC profile] has backed off his pledge to push through legislation [JURIST report] that would allow women to succeed to the royal throne for the first time since the 1700's. The bill - first proposed because not a single male has been born in the royal family for over 40 years - was supported vigorously by Koizumi until he told a reporter that he wants to "proceed cautiously" to avoid making the issue a "political tool."

Koizumi's change of heart comes one day after the announcement that Princess Kiko Akishino [Wikipedia backgrounder] is pregnant, which has raised hopes that a male will finally be born into the royal family. Opinion polls have shown a majority of Japanese support the proposed change to the 1947 Imperial Household Law [text], but some conservative politicians have led public protests in opposition [JURIST report] to the proposal. BBC News has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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