As part of a government push for female empowerment, Japan’s Defense Ministry is opening up jobs in the Self-Defense Forces to women, including the flying of attack helicopters and special maritime patrol lines. The Ground SDF will also allow women to pilot anti-tank helicopters and serve in chemical protection units, and the Maritime SDF removed a ban on women serving in special patrol units and minesweeper and missile operations. The Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that applicants for the new positions have already applied, and that personnel changes are expected to begin at the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year (April 1) after candidates undergo training.
The moves are a continuance of Japan’s opening of its military to women — last November, the Air SDF announced that women would be allowed to pilot ASDF fighter jets and spy planes.
Female deployment on submarines will remain restricted, and women will still be barred from serving in GSDF infantry and tank units that could face close combat. The SDF has 230,000 personnel, of whom 13,000, or 5.7 percent, are women.
Read the full story at The Japan Times.