The order of the succession to the Imperial Throne (皇位継承順位)
The order of the succession to the Imperial Throne means the order in which the Imperial Throne is succeeded to from generation to generation. Those higher in the order of succession (nearer to the first in line) have more chance of acceding to the throne next.
The Imperial Throne stipulated in the Constitution of Japan and the Imperial House Law
The Imperial Throne is regulated as follows in the current Constitution of Japan (promulgated on November 3, 1946) and the Imperial House Law (No. 3 Act enacted on January 16, 1947) respectively:
The Constitution of Japan
Article 2: The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and succeeded to in accordance with the Imperial House Law passed by the Diet.
The Imperial House Law
Article 1: The Imperial Throne shall be succeeded to by a male offspring in the male line belonging to the Imperial Lineage.
Article 2 : The Imperial Throne shall be succeeded to the members of the Imperial Family according to the following order:
1) The eldest son of the Emperor
2) The eldest son of the Emperor's eldest son
3) Other male descendants of the Emperor's eldest son
4) The second son of the Emperor and his male descendants
5) Other male descendants of the Emperor
6) Brothers of the Emperor and their male descendants
7) Uncles of the Emperor and their male descendants
Clause 2: In case there is no member of the Imperial Family who falls under the above categories, the Imperial Throne shall be succeeded to by the member of the Imperial Family next nearest in lineage.
Clause 3: In the case of the two preceding paragraphs, precedence shall be given to the senior line, and in the same degree, to the senior member.
Article 3: In case the Imperial Heir is affected with an incurable and serious disease, mentally or physically, or there is a serious hindrance, the order of succession may be changed by decision of the Imperial Household Council and in accordance with the order stipulated in the preceding Article..
The current order of the succession to the Imperial Throne
The Imperial Prince Naruhito (born in 1960)
The Imperial Prince Akishino no miya Fumihito (born in 1965)
The Imperial Prince Akishino no miya Hisahito (born in 2006)
The Imperial Prince Hitachi no miya Masahito (born in 1935)
The Imperial Prince Mikasa no miya Takahito (born in 1915)
The Imperial Prince Tomohito (born in 1946)
The Imperial Prince Katsura no miya Yoshihito (born in 1948)