Yoshihide Yoshida, head of Japan’s Floor Self-Protection Pressure, stated an inside investigation discovered proof that a number of servicemen had been concerned within the case introduced by former soldier Rina Gonoi final month.
“Representing the Floor-Self Protection Pressure, I deeply apologize to Ms. Gonoi for the ache she needed to endure for a very long time,” Yoshida informed a information convention. “We provide a honest apology.”
The investigation was ongoing and additional particulars, together with the assailants and their punishment, weren’t but launched Thursday.
Japan’s Protection Minister Yasukazu Hamada earlier this month ordered a ministry-wide investigation into rising stories of sexual assault after Gonoi introduced allegations of harassment of her and others.
Gonoi got here ahead in late August to request a reinvestigation of an alleged assault on her in 2021 by former male colleagues. She additionally stated she had obtained info from 146 servicemembers who stated that they had been harassed whereas on obligation.
The ministry stated the variety of varied sorts of harassment complaints rose from 256 in 2016 to 2,311 final yr.
In a rustic the place gender inequality stays excessive, sexual harassment is usually disregarded and the #MeToo motion has been gradual to catch on. However Japanese girls have began to talk up.
Earlier this month, Gonoi submitted a petition to the Protection Ministry signed by greater than 100,000 individuals looking for a reinvestigation of her case by a 3rd occasion.
She stated three senior male colleagues in August 2021 in a dorm at a coaching floor pressed the decrease a part of their our bodies in opposition to her, forcing her to unfold her legs, as greater than 10 different male colleagues watched and laughed, however none tried to cease them.
Gonoi stated in a press release that she filed a case with the ministry, however the investigation was not correctly performed and native prosecutors dropped the case in Could.
A month later, she give up the military and disclosed her allegations on social media.
Gonoi stated she felt her case had been quashed and he or she needed to elevate her voice as a result of there may very well be extra victims if she didn’t.
The protection ministry dispatched investigators to the regional military division overseeing the unit the place Gonoi served. It additionally created a panel of out of doors specialists to evaluation measures in opposition to harassment and examine the causes of the current enhance in reported circumstances.
Gonoi stated she got here ahead in hopes that the issue can be mitigated and the ministry would launch the findings in her case and take strict disciplinary motion in opposition to the alleged assailants.
The ministry discovered extra victims in different circumstances, Kyodo Information company stated, and the ultimate report is anticipated quickly.