from the subject-to-interpretation dept.
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has revealed to a Dutch newspaper that he has flown as a co-pilot for the airline KLM about twice per month for the last 21 years. His flying hobby will require retraining to fly Boeing 737s, as the airline is phasing out its Fokker 70s. The King says he was not recognized often, especially after 9/11 as passengers now have less contact with the cockpit.
Japan's Princess Mako will reportedly lose royal status due to marrying a commoner, as Japan's current imperial law requires. The move is "expected to reignite debate" over the nation's imperial succession law and is "raising fresh questions about the status of women in the imperial family". Emperor Akihito, who is 83, has recently hinted that he wants to step down, which would require a legislative change or a one-time exemption. [This bill is expected to be introduced on Friday.] Only males can currently become Emperor, and there are only four heirs left to the Chrysanthemum Throne. However, the restriction on female succession dates back to an 1889 Meiji government law, and was retained in the 1947 postwar Constitution. Japan has had six Empress regnants in the past, the most recent reigning from 1762 to 1771. The sons of female royal family members are also not currently in the line of succession, as only the male offspring of the male line can succeed the throne.
MonarchyNews is subjects.
Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) coalition has won big in the recent elections and may eventually push for changes in Japan's constitution, although such plans are tentative:
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc scored a big win in Sunday's election, bolstering his chance of becoming the nation's longest-serving premier and re-energizing his push to revise the pacifist constitution. Abe's Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) coalition won a combined 312 seats, keeping its two-thirds "super majority" in the 465-member lower house, local media said.
A hefty win raises the likelihood that Abe, who took office in December 2012, will secure a third three-year term as LDP leader next September and go on to become Japan's longest-serving premier. It also means his "Abenomics" growth strategy centered on the hyper-easy monetary policy will likely continue.
[...] The U.S.-drafted constitution's Article 9, if taken literally, bans the maintenance of armed forces. But Japanese governments have interpreted it to allow a military exclusively for self-defense. Backers of Abe's proposal to clarify the military's ambiguous status say it would codify the status quo. Critics fear it would allow an expanded role overseas for the military. Abe said he would not stick to a target he had floated of making the changes by 2020. "First, I want to deepen debate and have as many people as possible agree," he told a TV broadcaster. "We should put priority on that."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly benefited from tensions with North Korea and is likely to serve as Prime Minister until 2021:
The elections were a result of a risky move on Abe's part. He dissolved the lower house of parliament last month and called for fresh elections a year earlier than scheduled to "face a national crisis" in North Korea. It was a gamble, considering Abe's approval ratings over the past year have ranged from iffy to dismal. One Washington Post headline from the summer read "Japanese prime minister's poll numbers are so low they make Trump's look good." "Abe is personally not that popular of a guy," Hu said. "But after North Korean missiles flew over Japan two times this year, Abe's popularity shot back up."