The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has decided to lift restrictions on jobs that can be filled by female Self-Defense Forces (SDF) members as much as possible, in order to double the ratio of female personnel, currently standing at about 14,000, or 6.1%. This is part of the government’s policy for the empowerment of women. Three Ground SDF (GSDF) units that currently consist only of men will begin to accept women next April. The plan is to start actual placement by FY2019 at the earliest. The SDF, which is considered the toughest workplace, is beginning to change.
As a result, the GSDF’s infantry, armored, and intelligence units, which are known for very tough training regimes, will begin to accept female members in April.
The only remaining units where women will not be assigned are GSDF units where the duties pose health hazards to women as mothers and Maritime SDF submarines, where it is hard to maintain privacy. A senior MOD official observes that “all restrictions on jobs will in effect be abolished.”
The MOD is expanding jobs for women in the SDF due to its desire to recruit as many capable personnel as possible in the age of a low birth rate. Young people tend to opt for employment in private companies in recent years due to the economic recovery, so the SDF has been having a hard time in recruitment. (Abridged)