New law includes resolution calling on government to ‘swiftly study’ ways to secure a stable imperial succession including possibility of a future empress

Japan’s parliament has passed a law allowing emperor Akihito to become the country’s first monarch to abdicate in more than 200 years, but left the door open to a debate over the possibility of allowing females to ascend the throne.

The government was forced to devise a one-off law to enable Akihito, 83, to abdicate after he suggested last summer that his age and health problems were affecting his ability to carry out public duties.

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