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SDF to open almost all positions to women

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Defense Ministry said Tuesday it will open almost all Self-Defense Forces positions to women, aiming to double the proportion of female members in the SDF.

Women will be allowed to join the infantry and tank companies of the Ground SDF, for instance.

Of a total of some 230,000 SDF personnel, women currently account for only 14,000, or about 6 percent, according to the ministry.

The ministry previously restricted women from taking positions that are physically demanding or would likely put them into direct combat.

But it has been relaxing the limits in stages from the standpoint of providing equal opportunities for both men and women. Last year, the ministry permitted the assignment of women to the GSDF antitank helicopter unit and the Maritime SDF missile ship unit.

The latest move will lift almost all role restrictions on female officers in the SDF.

But the ministry will continue to exclude women from three job categories, including the MSDF submarine and GSDF special weapons defense units, citing the difficulty of ensuring full privacy of female officers and the need for maternity protection.Speech

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