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Trailblazing female commander leads Japan's top naval squadron

Captain Ryoko Azuma opened a crack in the male-dominated MSDF

Capt. Ryoko Azuma commands the Maritime Self Defense Force’s First Escort Division, based at Yokosuka Naval Base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

TOKYO -- Last March, 50 women graduated from Japan's naval academy in Etajima, Hiroshima Prefecture. Although women still make up only a small part of Self-Defense Force personnel, their presence is growing thanks in part to groundbreaking women who have come before them.

Among them is Capt. Ryoko Azuma, who last year became the first woman to command a Japanese naval squadron, more than 20 years after her own graduation.

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