Can a woman become emperor?
Recorded imperial chronologies note ten women emperors.
The first was the Empress Suiko (592-628), and the most recent was the Empress Go-Sakuramachi (1762-70).
Although the imperial line is determined by a hereditary system whereby paternal male heirs succeed to the throne, in a few cases, when the death of a reigning emperor left no heirs who could satisfy the requirements for imperial succession, the empress, imperial princess, or the crown princess succeeded to the throne.
But under the current Imperial Household Law only males in the imperial family are allowed to succeed to the throne.
As of June 2004, the Emperor's two sons, the Crown Prince and Prince Akishino, are in good health.
However, since the Crown Prince's child is a girl and Prince Akishino's two children are both girls, the line of succession to the throne would be in the order of the Crown Prince, followed by Prince Akishino, Princc Hitachi (the brother of the Heisei Emperor), and Prince Mikasa (the brother of the Showa Emperor).
However, in the event that there is no son, it may open the possibility for a change in the law to allow an empress or princess to succeed.