Japan princess gives birth to boy Japan's Princess Kiko has given birth to a boy, who becomes the third-in-line to the imperial throne.
The 39-year-old princess gave birth by a Caesarean section after complications in the pregnancy.
Princess Kiko, wife of the current emperor's second son, already has two daughters but neither of them are allowed to ascend to the throne.
Her son becomes the first male heir to be born into Japan's royal family in more than four decades.
The present heir, Crown Prince Naruhito, and his wife, Princess Masako, have a young daughter, while Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko have two daughters.
Princess Sayako is married to a commoner, so if she were to have children they could not be considered.
Princess Kiko's son was born weighing 2,558 grams (5lbs 10oz) at 0827 local time (2327 GMT Tuesday).
Reports say mother and child are both in good condition.
The pregnancy has attracted enormous interest in Japan.
Princess Kiko has been in hospital since 16 August because of symptoms of partial placenta previa, a condition in which part of the placenta drops too low in the uterus.
Doctors said when she went into hospital that the move was precautionary and the pregnancy was proceeding well.
Conservatives had hoped Princess Kiko would give birth to a boy, thereby bringing an end to debate on whether the constitution should be revised to allow women to ascend to the throne.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had been advocating such a reform, and there appeared to be support for it amongst the Japanese public.
But the reform plans were shelved, amid strong opposition from conservative palace officials and some politicians, when the royal pregnancy was announced.
Japan's birth rate has continued to decline in recent years and the government has been working on ways of persuading women to have more children.
Baby and maternity product companies are also hoping the birth will benefit them.
Shares in baby-linked firms rose ahead of the birth, with one baby food company's shares hitting a high for the year on Monday, the Associated Press news agency reported.