The process by which one person comes after another as a king, queen or leader.
Princess Mako is presently a member of Japan’s royal family. The 25-year-old granddaughter of Emperor Akihito is in the news because she intends to marry Kei Komuro, a commoner. Kei, who is also 25 years old, is currently working for a law firm. By marrying Kei, the princess will forfeit her royal status and will no longer have a role in the Japanese royal family. The imperial law of Japan is unambiguous regarding ‘succession’ with only male heirs allowed to occupy the Chrysanthemum Throne.
The law of ‘succession’ is currently causing debate in Japanese government circles because the 83-year-old emperor has declared he would like to abdicate. A Japanese emperor last abdicated over two centuries ago, and the existing law of Japan doesn’t allow it, but legal changes are likely that will permit the elderly emperor to retire. Any changes are unlikely to rescind the male only ‘succession’ rule.