Japan’s first woman fighter pilot to blaze a trail in skies


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Misa Matsushima’s childhood dream of being a fighter pilot was impressed by the 1986 US movie Prime Gun

A Japanese lady will likely be flying by way of the glass ceiling as she turns into her nation’s first feminine fighter pilot.

First Lieutenant Misa Matsushima, 26, will start obligation on Friday having accomplished her coaching to fly F-15s, Japan’s army has introduced.

“As the primary feminine (fighter) pilot, I’ll open the way in which,” she instructed reporters.

Japan’s air drive started recruiting girls in 1993 – besides as fighter jet and reconnaissance plane pilots. It lifted that last ban in late 2015.

“Ever since I noticed the film Prime Gun once I was in main college, I’ve all the time admired fighter jet pilots,” the graduate of Japan’s Nationwide Defence Academy instructed journalists.

“I want to proceed to work exhausting to fulfil my obligation – not only for myself but additionally for girls who will comply with this path sooner or later.”

Three different girls are presently coaching to affix the elite group of fighter pilots.

The F-15J fighter jets they’ll pilot are twin-engine aircrafts designed for air-to-air fight with different jets. They’ll attain prime speeds of about Mach 2.5 – 2.5 occasions the pace of sound or about three,000 km/h (1,864 miles/h).

“The primary feminine fighter pilot of the Air Self-Defence Drive is born,” a tweet (in Japanese) from the Japan Air Self-Defence Drive mentioned.

The 26-year-old had deliberate to fly transport planes earlier than the ultimate gender restriction on fighter pilots was lifted.

Girls in Japan’s work drive

Japan has excessive ranges of gender inequality, with many ladies anticipated to grow to be housewives reasonably than having a profession.

However confronted with an ageing inhabitants and shrinking workforce, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged in 2013 to empower working girls.

The armed forces has taken on his “womenomics” coverage by planning to extend the variety of girls serving within the 228,000-strong air, sea and floor troops from the present 6.1% to 9% by 2030.

Earlier this yr, Ryoko Azuma turned the primary lady to command a warship squadron, native media reported.

“I do not take into consideration being a lady. I’ll focus my power on fulfilling my duties as commander,” the 44-year-old mentioned on the time, in keeping with native media.

When she joined the nation’s maritime self-defence drive in 1996, girls weren’t allowed to serve on warships. That ban was lifted a decade in the past, however girls are nonetheless barred from serving on submarines.

Breaking by way of Japan’s male-dominated office stays an enormous problem in several fields, comparable to the company world the place girls face difficulties rising up the ranks.

Girls are additionally nonetheless banned from competing professionally in Japan’s nationwide sport, sumo wrestling.

Regardless of the prime minister’s efforts to enhance the place of girls within the office, the nation dropped from 111th to 114th in 2017’s international gender equality rankings, in keeping with the World Financial Discussion board.


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