Women of Japan, prepare for war! Well, kind of. Since World War II, Japan’s constitution has banned troops from engaging in combat unless it’s an instance of pure self-defense but earlier this year, politicians in the nation of 127 million pushed to allow the military, known as the self-defense forces, to engage in overseas combat. Younger people in the pacifist country largely protested the move, having grown up in a post-WWII society in which Japan’s military saw no combat and, as the country’s population shrinks, the military forces have sought new ways to engage citizens in military roles. Hence the focus on recruiting women.
“Every modern military is expanding opportunities for women. And since Japan is falling into demographic oblivion, finding young men is going to be harder,” Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University in Tokyo, told Quartz in an piece published this week. With women representing only 5.6 percent of the military population in 2013 (compared to the United States 14 percent), Japan’s defense ministry took great strides to create incentives for women in the 2015 budget by including projects like daycare improvement, gender awareness training, and millions towards making maternity wear a feasible part of Japan’s military uniform. Next year, even more will be spent on ads, campus recruitment and online videos to invite younger people to join the military.
Read the full story at Quartz.