The ceremony took place at the JMSDF base in Sasebo. In the future, she is expected to become the first female submarine captain of the JMSDF.
Traditionally, the JSDF has placed restrictions on the assignment of female personnel, and this includes submarine crews. However, the JSDF gradually removed such restrictions on women against the backdrop of recent problems in recruiting personnel due to the declining birthrate and aging population. In such a move, the crew of the submarine was also opened up to women in December 2018. In 2019, female members were put on board the submarine Uzushio on a trial basis in order to understand the issues that arise when women are actually on board submarines. In addition, in October 2020, JMSDF had its first five female submarine crew members (Petty Officer and Leading Seaman).
As a result of this series of developments, there have been significant changes inside the JMSDF submarines. JMSDF’s newest submarine, Taigei, which was launched in October 2020, has a women-only bedroom compartment and a shower room that is designed for women’s use. The National Defense Program Guidelines for FY 2019 and beyond, a document released in 2018 that outlines Japan’s defense policy for the next decade, clearly states that the Taigei will be operated as a test submarine. It is expected that various efforts for female crew members in future JMSDF submarines will be tested in the Taigei.
As of 2020, there are about 17,000 female members in the entire JSDF, which has about 230,000 members (about 7.4% of the total), and there are about 3,000 female members serving in the JMSDF. The JSDF plans to increase the percentage of women among all JSDF personnel to 9% by FY2027, and it is expected that women will make more progress in various activities in the future.