ASDF Member Sues Govt for Damages over Sexual Harassment

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Defense Ministry buildings in Tokyo

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—A female member of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force filed an 11.7-million-yen damages lawsuit against the government with Tokyo District Court Monday, alleging that the ASDF inappropriately responded to her sexual harassment complaint, her lawyer told a press conference the same day.

According to the lawyer, she began to suffer repeated verbal sexual abuse by a male colleague soon after she was assigned to the Naha base in Okinawa Prefecture in 2010, and sought advice from authorities within the base. However, she was told that the ASDF would not deal with individual harassment cases.

In 2016, she sued the man in question in the Okinawa capital for compensation.

Naha District Court rejected the damages request, but found that “there is sufficient possibility to determine that there were illegal remarks that violated personal rights.”

After the ruling, the ASDF distributed materials for sexual harassment education at the base mentioning the woman by name and portrayed her as being at fault.

She was also placed under military police investigation and reprimanded for submitting the base’s internal materials to the court.

The layer said she did not appear at the news conference because she needed the ASDF’s approval for comments.

“This is sexual harassment, and I hope (the ASDF) becomes an organization that can deal with harassers,” she said in a statement.

The Defense Ministry said it will consider the matter when receiving the petition and will respond appropriately.