The Defense Ministry has decided to open more positions in the Self-Defense Forces to women, including the flying of attack helicopters and special maritime patrol planes.
The decision is in line with the government’s push for female empowerment. The SDF is expected to widen the roles of female personnel from fiscal 2017 after they undergo training.
The SDF has some 230,000 personnel across the country, of whom 13,000, or 5.7 percent, are women.
Last November, the Air SDF began allowing women to become pilots of ASDF fighter jets and spy planes.
The Defense Ministry said Tuesday that applicants have already applied and their aptitudes for the jobs will be evaluated.
For its part, the Ground SDF decided to let women pilot anti-tank helicopters, such as AH-1S Cobras and AH-64D Apache Longbows, as well as serve in chemical protection units.
The Maritime SDF decided to remove its ban on women’s participation in its special patrol units and minesweeper and missile ship operations. Female deployment on submarines, however, is still restricted.
In other areas of the SDF, women will remain barred from joining GSDF infantry and tank units that may face close combat.