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Japan appoints first female chief of warship unit

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TOKYO (AFP) – The Japanese navy said yesterday it had for the first time appointed a woman as commander of a unit that includes the country’s biggest warship. Ryoko Azuma, 44, will command four warships making up a division with a total of 1,000 crew members. The ships include the helicopter carrier Izumo, the navy’s biggest ship. About 14,000 women are currently serving in the Self-Defence Forces as the military is known, accounting for only six percent of the entire personnel. On most levels, Japan lags behind other developed countries in terms of sexual equality.

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