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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 30 - June 5  > JCP Kami criticizes Defense Ministry for being extremely lenient with sexual harassment perpetrators in SDF
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2007 May 30 - June 5 [SDF]

JCP Kami criticizes Defense Ministry for being extremely lenient with sexual harassment perpetrators in SDF

May 29, 2007
At a House of Councilors Audit Committee meeting on May 28, Japanese Communist Party representative Kami Tomoko brought up the issue of sexual assault and harassment cases in the Self-Defense Forces and demanded that the Defense Ministry severely punish the perpetrators.

Kami cited a case in which a female SDF official subjected to sexual harassment had been hospitalized for mental distress and eventually forced to retire, but the Defense Ministry suspended the perpetrator from duty for only one day.

“This case shows that the Defense Ministry lacks any understanding of sexual harassment as a serious infringement of human rights. The ministry must punish those who committed the crime as severely as other ministries do,” Kami stated.

Defense Minister Kyuma Fumio, however, stated, “The penalty of a one-day suspension is regarded as severe in the SDF. Penalties cannot be compared with that of other ministries.” He failed to confirm that sexual harassment amounts to a violation of human rights.

Kami criticized Kyuma, saying, “You fail to understand the victims.”

In September 2006, a 21-year-old female SDF officer was sexually assaulted and injured. She consulted with her superiors, but they have been harassing her by denying her permission to leave the base and even demanding her resignation. Claiming state compensation, she filed a suit on May 8 in the Sapporo District Court.

Referring to this case, Kami demanded that the ministry investigate and take measures to put an end to the human rights violations.

Kami also cited a 1998 Defense Agency survey on sexual harassment in the SDF and the National Defense Academy in which 18.7 percent of female respondents answered that they had been pressed to have sex, and 7.4 percent answered that they were victims of either sexual assault or attempted assault.

“Since there are about 10,000 female SDF officers, the number of victims may rise to 1,800 and 740. This is a grave problem,” Kami said.
- Akahata, May 29, 2007
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