YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Japan’s Defense Ministry may soon allow female Self-Defense Force members to pilot fighter jets and reconnaissance planes.
The decision — in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy to create better working environments and opportunities for women — is expected to be announced soon, the ministry said Thursday.
The first female fighter pilots are expected to fly F-15 and F-4 fighter jets after about three years of training, and there are already women within the Japan Air Self-Defense Force who plan to apply, sources told Kyodo News.
Previously, female Self-Defense Forces pilots were allowed to fly only transport and patrol aircraft.
The United States dropped restrictions on women flying combat missions in 1993.