BANZAI! It's a boy! And with his birth, the Japanese royal house has been perpetuated for at least another generation.
The much-wanted son, now third in line to the throne after his uncle, Crown Prince Naruhito, and his father, Prince Akishino, has arrived at a crucial moment.
He leapfrogs his cousin, four-year-old Princess Aiko, and his two older sisters, because boys outrank girls in the tradition of the Chrysanthemum Throne.
"I hope that Japan is happier because of the birth," said Yumiko Nishimura, a housewife who marked the day with a visit to the Emperor's compound in central Tokyo. "There is so much sad news in the world, a baby is always wonderful. It gives us hope for the future."
The baby belongs to a second branch of the royal family tree, that of Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko, and his birth puts them at the centre of the imperial affairs. They will get a larger stipend from the Government and already have a higher public profile. Click here to read on...