Japan has the oldest continuous monarchy in the world and will soon see the first abdication of the Chrysanthemum Throne in more than 200 years.

Emperor Akihito will abdicate on April 30th to be replaced by his son Crown Prince Naruhito. Naruhito’s accession is raising questions about the importance of the Imperial family and what it means to be Emperor. The next in line to the throne after Naruhito isn’t his child, it’s his younger brother. That’s because Naruhito’s only child is a girl and Japanese law mandates the emperor be male.

The monarchy is central to Japanese identity with many traditionalists believing that the emperor must be a man. But public attitudes towards the subject appear to be shifting. A poll last year found that two-thirds want the law change to allow women to ascend the throne, a direct challenge to Japan’s traditionally patriarchal society.

So what does Emperor Akihito’s abdication mean for women in Japan? We explore in this episode of The Stream.

On today's episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Sakura Murakami @sakmurakami
Reporter, The Japan Times

Roland Kelts @rolandkelts
Journalist & author, Japanamerica’

Wakako Fukuda @earthgangkoko
Activist & former memberSEALDs

Read more: 
Japan Emperor Akihito's abdication: What you need to know - Al Jazeera 
Japan will enthrone a new Emperor. His wife won't be allowed to watch - The New York Times 

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