Japanese air force member sues government for allegedly failing to protect her from sexual harassment

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A Japanese aerial unit serviceperson revenge a suit against nan authorities connected Monday, saying it had grounded to protect her from verbal intersexual harassment from a antheral workfellow and past systematically covered up nan problem for much than a decade.

The plaintiff, who was only identified arsenic a existent personnel of nan Air Self Defense Force, faced verbal intersexual maltreatment starting arsenic soon arsenic she was assigned to Naha aerial guidelines connected nan confederate land of Okinawa successful 2010, her lawyers said.

The plaintiff is seeking astir $85,800 successful damages from nan authorities for failing to protect her from the harassment and failing to create a amended moving environment, and for not countering nan disapproval she received for speaking out, causing her to suffer for much than 10 years, lawyer Daisuke Tabuchi told reporters.


The lawyers said nan perpetrator besides made akin comments to different female aerial unit members, but they didn't openly kick to debar friction. They said they want to telephone into mobility nan inclination of nan male-dominated subject to neglect and screen up intersexual harassment.

The Defense Ministry said it had nary contiguous remark connected nan lawsuit.

The harassment from nan plaintiff's workfellow included predominant comments astir her assemblage and nationalist questions astir her activity life, her lawyers said.

She sought thief from her supervisors and an SDF intersexual harassment consultation department, but consequent consciousness training put her connected nan spot, giving her a estimation arsenic a troublemaker alternatively than a victim, they said.

Lawyers of a Japanese aerial unit serviceperson, who revenge a suit against nan authorities complete intersexual harassment, locomotion to participate Tokyo District Court connected Feb. 27, 2023.

Lawyers of a Japanese aerial unit serviceperson, who revenge a suit against nan authorities complete intersexual harassment, locomotion to participate Tokyo District Court connected Feb. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

After six years' endurance, she revenge an earlier suit against nan perpetrator successful 2016 astatine Naha District Court, which dismissed nan lawsuit nan pursuing twelvemonth moreover though it acknowledged his sexual harassment. It said he could not beryllium held responsible arsenic an individual nationalist servant and that nan authorities should carnivore responsibility. The determination was upheld by a precocious court.

The plaintiff besides revenge a criminal title pinch nan subject constabulary successful 2019, but prosecutors yet dropped nan case, according to nan lawyers.

They said she has developed accent and insomnia, and has suffered profession setbacks successful an alleged organizational revenge for her having spoken up.


Sexual misconduct complaints are often disregarded successful Japan, and victims thin to look disapproval for speaking up.

Lawyers opportunity Japan's subject has lagged down backstage companies successful dealing pinch harassment.

"The Self Defense Force has faced unit shortages and is desperately recruiting members, and yet problems for illustration these are near unchecked," said Yukiko Takei, different lawyer for nan plaintiff. "We must opportunity governance astatine nan Japanese military is not decently functioning."

Monday’s suit comes weeks aft different SDF intersexual harassment victim, erstwhile service worker Rina Gonoi, revenge a civilian suit against 5 alleged perpetrators and nan authorities complete intersexual maltreatment she suffered.


She went nationalist pinch her acquisition past year, demanding that nan Defense Ministry re-investigate her case, successful which she said she was many times assaulted by respective servicemen, causing her to springiness up her subject career. The service dropped her lawsuit aft she initially revenge a title successful 2021, saying location was insufficient evidence.

Preliminary results of a ministry-wide harassment investigation launched successful consequence to Gonoi’s lawsuit recovered 1,414 complaints, nan ministry said successful December. About 84% progressive maltreatment of power, while intersexual harassment accounted for 116 cases, aliases 7.7%, nan ministry said.