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Married 26 Years, She Can't Watch Him Become Emperor

Unless it's on TV: Japanese succession rules bar Masako from attending Naruhito's ascension
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2019 11:10 AM CDT
In this April 30, 2013, file photo, Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako arrive at the Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.   (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)

(Newser) – On Wednesday, Crown Prince Naruhito will become an emperor and usher in the "Reiwa" era, and the world will be watching—but one important person won't be seeing it up close. Per the New York Times, Naruhito's wife of 26 years, Masako, isn't allowed to be in the room with him during the ascension ceremony. That's thanks to the Imperial Household Law, Japanese rules of succession and protocol for the monarchy that prohibit women from the royal family from being in the same room when a coronation is taking place.

Women also aren't allowed to sit on the throne, and if they're born into the royal family, they have to ditch that status when they marry. Meanwhile, as the country prepares for the abdication of Emperor Akihito, 85, the day before his 59-year-old son takes over, Reuters reports security has been beefed up at Tokyo's Imperial Palace to "prevent illegal behavior, including terrorism acts, from happening near the palace," as well as on surrounding streets, per a police official. (Read more Japan stories.)

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