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‘Joshi bakari ga naze tsuyoi?” (“Why is it that only women are strong?”) asks Aera (Mar. 26). The question may be a valid one, at least when limited to international sports events, where Japan’s women over the past several years have been outshining their male counterparts as they excel in soccer, women’s Greco-Roman wrestling, skiing and figure skating, among others.

Japanese women also shine brightly when representing their country in cultural competitions — such as 17-year-old Madoka Sugai’s first-place finish at the Prix de Laussane 2012 international ballet competition in early February.

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