Crime & Justice

3 former Japanese soldiers found guilty of sexually assaulting colleague

Tokyo, Dec 12 (EFE).- A Japanese court on Tuesday convicted three ex-officers of the Self-Defense Forces (Army) for sexually assaulting their female subordinate Rina Gonoi.

The Fukushima District Court handed down two-year prison sentences suspended for four years, meaning they would not actually serve time in prison.

The convicted men, aged between 29 and 31, admitted to pinning Gonoi down but pleaded not guilty, saying their actions did not constitute sexual assault.

The court said the three men, who are also suspended from their positions for four years, used martial arts techniques to force Gonoi down and press their bodies against hers in 2021 while serving in the Koriyama camp in Fukushima prefecture.

Gonoi, 24, said she suffered several forms of sexual abuse, including inappropriate comments, touching, and harassment between the autumn of 2020 and the summer of 2021, which were ignored and laughed at by her supervisors.

Gonoi left the army in June and made her case public, calling on an investigation from the Ministry of Defence that found four other cases of abuse of women in the unit.

The ministry, which received some 1,400 complaints of sexual abuse after Gonoi’s case, apologized to her and suspended five army men related to the incident, and penalized four others.

Gonoi’s court battle caught public attention after she reported the assault under her real identity, something unusual in Japanese society where speaking out on sexual assaults remains taboo. EFE

mca/up/sc

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