Ex-SDF Member Gonoi Makes Time Magazine’s Next 100 List

Yomiuri Shimbun file photos
Lef: Rina Gonoi
Right: Arfiya Eri

New York (Jiji Press)—Former Japanese Self-Defense Forces member Rina Gonoi, who has claimed that she had been sexually harassed during her service, appears on Time magazine’s list of 100 emerging leaders that was released Wednesday.

“In Japanese society, speaking up about sexual violence has long been a taboo, but Rina’s courage has kicked the door open for all survivors,” said the U.S. magazine, which picked her in the “advocates” category of the “Time 100 Next” list.

Gonoi’s dream as a child was “to serve in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces following her rescue by female soldiers after the 2011 Tohoku (northeastern Japan) earthquake and tsunami,” the magazine said.

Although her dream “turned into a nightmare when she experienced sexual violence while serving,” her accusation against harassers led to a “larger investigation into cases of harassment within” the SDF, the magazine said.

Arfiya Eri, a 34-year-old member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Japan’s parliament, was included in the “leaders” category.

Eri, whose parents are from China’s Xinjiang region, “has become a champion of diversity in Japan,” where a vast majority of lawmakers are men and the average age of lawmakers is high, the magazine said.