A former Japanese soldier who was sexually assaulted by her colleagues said on Monday (January 30th) that she was taking the government and the perpetrators to court over the "
" apologies and mistreatment she received.
The victim, Rina Gonoi, 23, had publicly denounced being assaulted by several male colleagues last year, a year after joining the Ground Self-Defense Forces.
Trivialization of accidents
In a country where accusations of sexual assault are rarely made in the public square, Rina Gonoi had submitted in August to the Ministry of Defense a petition signed by more than 100,000 people asking for an independent investigation into the attacks against her, after the abandonment of a first judicial investigation.
In December, five Japanese soldiers were fired over the case, but Rina Gonoi said on Monday the apology she received was "
" and that the attackers' lawyers continued to trivialize the incidents during talks over a deal.
Read alsoShiori Ito, the rape case that shakes Japan
I didn't want to choose the path of conflict, but I haven't received a message that assures me that they really regret
" what they did, she told the press.
Given the differences on the issue between their side and mine, I think there is a need to make things (public through legal action) which I think will prevent this is not repeated
,” she added.
Rina Gonoi is seeking a total of 7.5 million yen (53,000 euros) - 5.5 million from her attackers for mental distress, and two million from the government for failing to prevent the assaults and failing to investigate them properly.
The case is also being reviewed by prosecutors who are considering possible criminal charges after she filed a complaint about the lack of charges against the men involved, her lawyers said on Monday.
Japan lags behind
The army had admitted in September that Rina Gonoi was regularly the victim of harassment and sexual assault in her unit and during training sessions.
Her action sparked around 100 other accusations of sexual harassment and bullying in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, from both women and men, also submitted to the ministry along with her petition.
Japan has long lagged behind other industrialized countries in the presence of women on corporate boards and in senior public office.
Government data shows that only 4% of rape victims report the crime to the police.