Report: Japan to drop plan to allow female monarch

Japan will drop plans to allow women to inherit the country's imperial throne, following the birth last year of a long-awaited male heir, a news report said Wednesday. The conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to ditch recommendations by a government panel in 2005 that an emperor's first child - boy or girl - should accede the throne, according to a report by the daily Sankei Shimbun. The reform was designed to defuse a looming succession crisis for the royal family, which had produced no male heir in four decades. But the drive, championed by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koziumi, lost steam after the birth of Prince Hisahito on Sept. 6 to Kiko, the wife of the emperor's second son.