MSDF commander first female to skipper destroyer

Kyodo

The Maritime Self-Defense Force’s first female destroyer captain has assumed her duties, taking the helm of the destroyer Yamagiri on Monday.

Cmdr. Miho Otani, 44, who is in charge of about 220 crew members on the destroyer, said in a written statement that she wants to set a good example in fulfilling her duties to make it easier for female Self-Defense Forces personnel who will follow, but that she will do so without putting too much pressure on herself.

An Osaka native, Otani graduated from the National Defense Academy of Japan in 1996 as one of its first female graduates. She was appointed as the first female skipper of a training destroyer in 2013.

Women make up about 2,400 of the MSDF’s 42,000 members.

The Yamagiri based at Yokosuka Naval Base in Kanagawa Prefecture is equipped with designated accommodation spaces and toilets for women and has 10 female crew members.