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CNN explores the lives of five of Japan's Leading Women

Theme week begins March 18, with a 30-minute program airing March 23-27

HONG KONG, March 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- This month CNN's 'Leading Women' features five Japanese women who are elevating themselves beyond where they live and their own fields. For them, there are different visions for the future, stemmed from colorful stories of determination and willpower to overcome obstacles. Their lessons and triumphs, ups and downs transcend the Japanese narrative and empower those around them and the world.

CNN explores the lives of five of Japan's Leading Women
CNN explores the lives of five of Japan's Leading Women

In this special 30-minute program, CNN highlights their journeys to success -- on the forefront of science, navigating the skies, climbing the highest peaks, building the future, and giving hope across generations.

Highlights of the 30-minute show include:

Ari Fuji -- Japan's first female commercial airline captain

Ari Fuji made history in 2010 after becoming Japan's first female commercial airline captain. It wasn't an easy path to the skies – she wasn't tall enough to make it into Japan's Civil Aviation College – nor were other organizations recruiting female pilots at the time. Yet, she didn't give up and ended up getting her pilot's license in the U.S before returning to Japan to get her commercial license. In 1999, she joined JAL Express as a trainee – eventually moving her way up to the role she has today as Captain. Fuji is also an instructor pilot who educates the next generation of pilots, both male and female.

Marin Minamiya -- The youngest Japanese person to climb Mount Everest

On the outside, Marin Minamiya looks like a normal college student, but at 22 she's already climbed mountains most people would never dream of. In 2016, 19-year-old Marin became the youngest Japanese person to summit Mount Everest. It wasn't an easy feat – climbing Everest took six years of planning, securing funds and training. Climbing became part of the identity she was searching for at the time and she later went on to be the youngest person to scale the highest mountain peaks in each of the seven continents as well as reach both the North and South Poles. For Minamiya, she says her strength comes from believing in her own potential and urges others to do the same.

Masako Wakamiya – One of the world's oldest app developers

Masako Wakamiya's life began again at 60 when she retired and started to learn to use computers to keep up with her friends. In 2017, at age 82, she became one of the world's oldest app developers after launching Hinadan – a game inspired by the Hina Matsui doll festival, aimed at elderly users. Her work has taken notice around the world and she has travelled the globe to share her story -- even meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook and speaking at the United Nations. Wakamiya uses Excel art to spread her message of hope to those just like her, creating designs she has even turned into clothing and crafts. Not only does Wakamiya want to tackle the country's elderly population, she also wants to encourage young people to be creative and own their individualism.

Yuko Nagayama – Founder and architect, Yuko Nagayama & Associates

Taking an interest in architecture after high school, Yuko Nagayama started her own firm after just four years working for Japanese architect Jun Aoki. Back then, she was 26 and youthful looking – traits which she says led her clients to think she was unreliable. She persevered – eventually landing big projects including the Louis Vuitton boutique in Kyoto, the revamped Kiya Ryokan, and the port-side museum Teshima Yokoo House – a project she took on when she was pregnant with her first child. There are big projects for Nagayama on the horizon too including designing the Japan Pavilion at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, as well as a large-scale skyscraper to be built in Tokyo by 2022.

Noriko Osumi – Professor of developmental neuroscience

In Sendai, Japan, sits one of the region's most prestigious research institutions -- Tohoku University. Noriko Osumi is a professor and vice president of the university -- having taken a path that led her to the forefront of Japan's scientific world. Growing up with two biologist parents unsurprisingly led Osumi into the realm of science and choosing a career in developmental neuroscience. Through her role now, she wants to encourage more women to join the field -- asking more women at all levels -- to act as role models for the next generation.

'Leading Women' is produced by CNN Vision, the global creative production powerhouse of CNN International, which brings the world's breath-taking diversity into cinematic focus, telling stories that inspire audiences around the world.

'Leading Women' trailer: 
'Leading Women' photos:

CNN Vision:

Airtimes for 30-minute special:

Saturday, 23rd March at 2030 HKT
Sunday, 24th March at 0330 HKT and 1030 HKT
Monday, 25th March at 0830 HKT
Wednesday, 27th March at 0030 HKT

About CNN International

CNN's portfolio of news and information services is available in seven different languages across all major TV, digital and mobile platforms reaching more than 475 million households around the globe. CNN International is the number one international TV news channel according to all major media surveys across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Asia Pacific region and Latin America and has a US presence which includes CNNgo. CNN Digital is a leading network for online news, mobile news and social media. CNN is at the forefront of digital innovation and continues to invest heavily in expanding its digital global footprint, with a suite of award-winning digital properties and a range of strategic content partnerships, commercialised through a strong data-driven understanding of audience behaviours. Over the years CNN has won multiple prestigious awards around the world for its journalism. Around 1,000 hours of long-form series, documentaries and specials are produced every year by CNNI's non-news programming division, CNN Vision. CNN has 36 editorial offices and more than 1,100 affiliates worldwide through CNN Newsource. CNN International is part of Turner, a WarnerMedia company.

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