On 30 March, Hiroyuki Nishimura (45), founder of ‘2channel’, updated his Twitter account. He posted his thoughts on the Ministry of Defence’s acknowledgement of a case in which Rina Gonoi, 23, a former Ground Self-Defence Force officer, had complained of sexual abuse at her Self-Defence Force unit.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed that Ms Gonoi was sexually harassed on a daily basis with sexual comments and physical contact at her company in Koriyama Garrison, Fukushima, where she was stationed, and that from autumn 2020 to August last year, she was pushed down in her accommodation at a training ground. The squadron will proceed to identify the members involved and promptly take disciplinary action against them. The company commander failed to report the incident to his superior, the battalion commander, despite a complaint from Ms Gonoi.
The investigation revealed that several other female members of the unit had also been sexually harassed. The Ministry of Defence is also conducting a ‘special defence inspection’ of all SDF personnel to examine whether they are taking appropriate measures to deal with harassment, including power harassment, and is urging measures to eradicate harassment.
On 29 January, when the Ministry of Defence acknowledged the incident, Mr Gonoi wrote on his Twitter account: ‘Today, I finally received an apology from the top management of the Ground Self-Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence. Thank you for all the support you have given me. I am 23 years old, I will not bend my will and will continue to live strongly”. Hiroyuki quoted the tweet and wrote: “Congratulations, I don’t know if it’s enough, but it’s a step forward”.