Ex-SDF Member Rina Gonoi Receives U.S. Award for Women of Courage

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Rina Gonoi, a former member of Japan’s Self Defence Forces, center, poses for a photo with first lady Jill Biden, left, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, after being presented with the 18th Annual International Women of Courage (IWOC) Award during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 4, 2024.

Washington (Jiji Press)—Former Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force member Rina Gonoi on Monday received a U.S. award for speaking out about sexual abuse she suffered during her service.

She was among this year’s recipients of the International Women of Courage Award given by the Department of State to honor women who have demonstrated leadership in human rights improvement and gender equality.

Gonoi appeared at Monday’s award ceremony at the White House wearing a judo outfit. She was photographed with first lady Jill Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Praising the recipients, Biden said during the ceremony, “The women on this stage have refused to bend to…silence.”

“Your great acts of courage can inspire others to perform their own,” she also said.