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Japanese Royal Family Announces Princess' Name - 2001-12-07

Following tradition, the name of the newest member of the Japanese royal family was announced on the seventh day of the baby's life. The name was unveiled during a nationally televised broadcast from the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

The name of the princess, the first child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, was announced by Hirofumi Oka, the spokesman for the Imperial Household Agency.

Hirofumi Oka says "the princess has received the name of Aiko. Her title, by which she will be addressed during her youth, is Toshi-nomiya."

The name Aiko is derived from the Chinese characters for "love" and "child". In the Japanese imperial family, it is a tradition that the emperor names a baby from several choices proposed by academics, who select names from old Japanese and Chinese manuscripts.

But in this case, the crown prince and his wife broke the centuries-old tradition by naming their daughter themselves after consulting with experts.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi extended his best wishes to the newly named princess. "He says that "he wishes that the princess will grow up with a lot of love and respect, like the elements of her name."

After eight years of marriage, Crown Princess Masako gave birth to her first child on December 1.

The birth of a girl has intensified debate about revising the law on succession, which states that only a male can sit on the throne. There has not been a male born into the imperial family for nearly 40 years. However, Prime Minister Koizumi says there is no reason to rush to amend the law.