"I think the male succession system in the imperial family has led to the discrimination and oppression of women in general in Japan," Ms. Kano said. A female line would make a woman the symbolic leader of the nation and show a man deferring to her, as wives of emperors do, she said.
"If Princess Aiko became empress, it might be a little better for the realization of the equality of men and women, rather than clinging to the male line," Ms. Kano said. "I'm basically for ending this system where wives always stand back while the emperor speaks, or walk behind him. That kind of image says a lot to ordinary people."
December 27, 2005
Here's an article about the debate over imperial succession in Japan. The princess's problems with depression and anxiety after giving birth only to a daughter have led to a proposal to permit females to carry on the line. Despite the ancientness of the tradition, the debate proceeds in modern terms, with one side emphasizing the Y chromosome and the other feminism: