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Military Probe In Japan Uncovers More Than 100 Cases of Sexual Harassment

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(CTN NEWS) – According to officials, Japan’s army on Thursday (Dec 15) fired five servicemen and punished four others for sexual assault brought by a former soldier.

Triggering a rare investigation across the Defense Ministry that found more than 100 other complaints of sexual harassment.

Rina Gonoi reported sexual harassment to the Defense Ministry last year, alleging that she had been subjected to several assaults by different male coworkers, which forced her to resign from the service.

Four of the five military personnel who were discharged from the service confirmed their assaults and offered their condolences to her in October. The mastermind of the four was revealed to be the fifth.

Additionally, the government reprimanded four others. Gonoi’s former boss at the Fukushima company was suspended for six months for failing to conduct a thorough inquiry.

While another person received criticism for verbal sexual harassment and two others for failing to address the issue.

As the leader of this organization, I feel a deep feeling of responsibility over (Gonoi’s) sadness and pain, Army Chief Yoshihide Yoshida said after apologizing to Gonoi once more.

He declared that he is committed to “eradicating harassment” and taking the issue seriously.

Military Probe In Japan Uncovers More Than 100 Cases of Sexual Harassment

Former Japan Ground Self-Defense Force member Rina Gonoi speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Monday, Oct 17, 2022 (Kyodo News via AP)

On one occasion in August 2021, the senior male coworkers forced her to spread her legs in a dormitory at a training facility while more than ten male coworkers laughed and watched, according to Gonoi.

No one attempted to intervene.

In response to the ministry’s action on Thursday, Gonoi tweeted, “I hope the four assailants, regardless of the gravity of their sentence, honestly assume their responsibility.”

In May, the investigation into her case was closed. Gonoi presented a petition to the Defense Ministry in August, signed by more than 100,000 individuals.

Requesting that a third party reinvestigate her allegations after she left the army and made her claims public on social media.

She added that she had heard from parents concerned about their daughter’s safety in the military and about dozens of other service members who had experienced harassment while on duty.

According to preliminary findings of a ministry-wide investigation into harassment that was started in response to Gonoi’s case, 1,414 complaints were made.

According to the ministry, 116 cases, or 7.7% of the complaints, involved sexual harassment. Power harassment accounted for around 84% of the complaints.

By organization, the army had the highest rate of harassment instances (822, or 58%), followed by the navy (279, or 19.7%) and the air force (203, or 14.4%).

Gonoi claimed that she went public to assist those unable to speak up.

Sexual harassment is frequently ignored in a nation where gender inequality still exists, and the #MeToo movement has been reluctant to take off because so many people still experience it in silence.

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