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HOME  > Past issues  > 2023 April 12 - 18  > In SDF, harassment increases more than 16-fold
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2023 April 12 - 18 [SDF]

In SDF, harassment increases more than 16-fold

April 12, 2023

The number of complaints reported by Self-Defense Forces members via the Defense Ministry’s harassment hotlines in 2021 reached 1,811, up more than 16-fold from the 2016 level.

This was announced by Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu in response to Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Yamazoe Taku at a House Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on April 11.

Yamazoe asked how many harassment claims were settled with support from the ministry’s relevant section. Defense Ministry Personnel and Education Bureau chief Machida Kazuhito gave no clear response. Yamazoe said that the setting up of hotlines is not the answer to solving harassment issues.

Yamazoe also brought up the issue in which SDF members who wish to resign are facing an unjust rejection. As a possible factor for this situation, Yamazoe cited a high turnover problem. For example, the number of members who quit the SDF in 2021 amounted to 5,742, a 35% increase from the previous year.

Yamazoe pointed out that outgoing members are required to explain their reasons for leaving the SDF in their resignation letter and that if their letters refer to an experience of harassment as a reason, they will be rejected. He asked about legal grounds for seeking the explanation for resignation. Machida in response admitted that there is no legal ground to speak of.

Yamazoe said that the Defense Ministry should take measures to prevent an unjust rejection of resignation applications in the SDF.
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