Crime & Justice

Former Japanese army personnel to continue legal battle over sexual abuse

Tokyo, Dec 19 (EFE).- Former Japanese military personnel Rina Gonoi, 23, said Monday she will continue her court battle over sexual abuse by her ex-colleagues, five of whom are currently under suspension.

“The defendants’ lawyers contacted me to offer money and reach a settlement, but they also told me that they are not sure whether they will be found guilty,” Gonoi said in Japanese at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ), which considers this “unacceptable.”

The former member of Japan’s Self-Defense Forcess, or the army, 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 by her supervisors, she said.

“I was sexually harassed every day with sexual comments about my breasts or physical contact, such as kissing. During a training camp in June, they touched my chest and kissed me on the cheek, they also forced me to touch a colleague’s pubic area,” she said.

She said that on one occasion several colleagues pounced on her in bed making movements against her hip while another dozen watched and laughed, including two supervisors.

“If I had not gone to the media with my real name and face and if the public had not noticed, the Self-Defense Forces would have done nothing,” Gonoi claimed, adding she had received many hate messages on the net after going public with her experience.

In mid-December, the Japanese army suspended five of its members indefinitely and one of its commanders for six months.

In September, SDF’s Chief of the Ground Staff Yoshihide Yoshida also publicly apologized and said he felt the pain suffered by the former SDF member.

“In the unit I was in, sexual harassment was very frequent (…) resulting in a loss of sensitivity to these cases,” said Gonoi, expressing hope that such cases would not be repeated.

Other female members of the unit had also been sexually harassed according to an investigation, the findings of which is expected to be published soon. EFE


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