Sexual Harassment in the Ground Self-Defense Forces
Rina Gonoi, Former member of the Ground Self-Defense Force
14:00-15:00 Monday, December 19, 2022
(The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation)
In September, an internal investigation by Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force found that Rina Gonoi endured physical and verbal sexual harassment on a daily basis from autumn 2020 to August 2021. She had been stationed at Camp Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture, but quit the GSDF in June 2022.
Gonoi published allegations of abuse online under her own name, and submitted a petition to the Defense Ministry in August calling for an investigation. The petition garnered more than 100,000 signatures and the Defense Minister ordered an investigation. The initial probe did not result in criminal charges. But her case was reopened after the Committee for the Inquest of the Prosecution, an independent citizens’ panel tasked with reviewing prosecutors’ decisions, ruled it was unjust not to prosecute.
As Japan prepares to increase its defense budget, which will include new recruiting efforts at a time when the number of young Japanese able to serve in the military is decreasing, dealing with sexual harassment in the armed forces is likely to loom larger in policy making. Please join us as we hear from Ms. Gonoi about her experiences in the GSDF, and how they are responding to her case.
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