I read a lot of anime/manga fanfiction which is of course set in Japan. Most of the stories are either set in the 1980's (Ranma 1/2 as an example) or set in the future (darn near any mecha story).
What I want to know is, are females finally allowed to be police officers on a par with males in real-life Japan? I know that in You're Under Arrest the female officers are not allowed to be armed with real firearms, and that they sometimes carry supercharged paintgun or airsoft guns. In the manga series Remote the female officer is given a .25 cal hideout handgun by her supervisor once he knows she will be dangerous situations.
Research on wikipedia and other places showed that up until the early 1990's female officers were not armed, had to wear skirts instead of slacks, and were assigned to 'less hazardous' duties like traffic control, juvenile counseling, and office duties. They were not allowed to do kobun patrol after night fall either.
I take it that sooner or later women will achieve technical equality with men on the police force (I'm pretty sure that discrimination and harassment will still continue the way it does in the US and other places). I'm wondering if and when it has take place in real life. I'm not talking about the special tactical units, but I am talking about street patrol, criminal investigations and emergency call response.
Secondary question - how commonplace is it for any police officer to be armed? Is it like in the US where all officers have at least sidearms or like in England where only specially trained response units (not riot police) have weapons, including full auto sub guns? And if possible, what weapons do they carry now? I had heard that up until recently the police carried revolvers from the WWII/American Occupation era, and have barely switched to Glock 19 9mm pistols.
So if possible, please let me know of any information or any sites where I could find it. I already found the books on Google Book Search, which is where I got some of the above info. Thanks again.