Japan's 1st pro women's soccer league kicks off

NHK -- Sep 13
Japan's first professional women's soccer league, the WE League, was launched on Sunday.

WE League chairperson Okajima Kikuko declared the league's opening at a ceremony in the western city of Kobe.

Okajima said a new page has been turned in women's sports. She said the league is determined to promote gender equality in Japan and become a platform where everyone can take center stage.

In the opening match, INAC Kobe Leonessa beat Omiya Ardija Ventus, 5-0.

Leonessa's Takase Megumi, a former member of Japan's national team, scored the league's first goal in the 4th minute.

Takase added another, and 17-year-old Hamano Maika scored two goals.

Four other matches were played on Sunday.

The WE League was established to raise the level of women's soccer. Each of the league's 11 teams will play 20 games through May next year in a home-and-away format.