See Japan's royal family before the Emperor loses the throne

A new law allows Emperor Akihito to abdicate the throne whenever, but the lack of male heirs may put the royal family's future in jeopardy

The Emperor of Japan, Akihito, at the age of 83 is the only monarch in the world ruling under the title of Emperor. Last Friday, a new law was passed in Japan that allows Emperor Akihito to step down. This would be the first royal surrender in more than two centuries. (AFP)

The Japanese imperial family is believed to be more than 2,600 years old. (AFP)

Defeat in World War-II was one of the major setbacks for the imperial family as its powers were curbed in the post-war occupation by US General Douglas MacArthur. (AFP)

The monarch is greatly admired in Japan as Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the sites hit by natural disasters in 2011. Emperor's beliefs that Japan must not surrender its 20th-century militarism is a threat to the conservatives. (AFP)

The Royal family functions under male hereditary. Upon the abdication of Akihito, Prince Naruhito, his oldest son will take the Chrysanthemum throne, followed by his younger brother Prince Akishino. After him, the only male heir left will be the 10-year old Prince Hisahito, Akishino's son. (AFP)

If women are not allowed to ascend the throne, future of royal family will be in jeopardy. The family faces major scarcity of young men. (AFP)

The Parliament has suggested that female members marrying commoners should not loose their status which will happen when Akihito's granddaughter, Princess Mako will marry her college sweetheart. Others have advised to include distant relatives to expand the family. (AFP)