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Sexual harassment rampant in SDF

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Of the 240,000 uniformed personnel serving in Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, 11,000 are women. It’s a difficult life, and rampant sexual harassment does not make it any easier, says Shukan Taishu (Jan 19).

A Defense Ministry survey released in August 2007 put the issue in a nutshell. Altogether, 3,704 servicewomen reported having experienced some form of sexual harassment -- whether “forced sex” (3.4%), unwanted caresses (20%), or off-color joking (24%). That represents an overall improvement over the past 10 years, the magazine finds, though hardcore harassment seems to have risen.

Actress Hiromi Akitsuki, having spent some time serving in the Maritime Self Defense Force, shares her experiences with Shukan Taishu.

She describes the intense discipline of the four-month training period she went through, and the stress it placed on instant, unquestioning obedience to orders. One day, she says, she was on duty when a superior officer came by and asked, “Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No.”

“Well then,” said the officer, “you probably haven’t done it in a while. How about doing it with me?”

“He was half-joking,” she says, and nothing further seems to have happened. “Probably every servicewoman has experienced at least that degree of sexual harassment.”

“Natsumi,” 23, served in the Ground Self Defense Force until last year. “It’s very hard in any case for servicewomen to win promotion,” she says, “when they’re so overwhelmingly outnumbered by men. Often it’s simply impossible to go public over sexual harassment.”

She recounts a personal experience. Once or twice a week, her squad held a “more or less compulsory” drinking party. “For the men, it’s more enjoyable if there are women present, so we’re pressed pretty hard to attend.” Rule number one, no doubt learned the hard way: “I absolutely never go wearing a skirt.”

This particular occasion was a yearend party that included Natsumi and one other woman among 13-14 men. “Suddenly, the officer sitting next to me calls out, ‘Kiss relay!’ That means you kiss the person sitting next to you. “It was bad enough having to see the men kiss each other,” Natsumi says, “but then the officer next to me began pawing and kissing me… It made me sick.”

That seems to have been the end as far as she was concerned, but she goes on to tell of a second party, after which the other woman present “woke up to find herself in a hotel. Drunk to the point of non-resistance, “she was practically raped by an officer.”

Afterwards, the officer resumed military bearing. “You are to mention this to nobody!” It was an order. “Yes sir!” the woman responded.

Several examples in a similar vein follow, after which Shukan Taishu sums up, “These male officer bullies of attractive servicewomen are supposedly our defense against North Korean missiles and the terrorist threat. Maybe that’s something we should worry about.”

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

25 Comments
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It will never end. But why would you go to a party where you know horny dudes that live next to each other in bunks for most of their life? Duh. You could always knock down a lot of glasses too. Chill the guys off. Also, take some martial arts and learn how to defend yourself. There are some very painful and simple hand moves you can use.

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And it's no better if you're a guy, apparently...

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how about the bullying? SDF is rampant with that too.

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"Kiss relay" - with only a couple women present - MASSIVE FAIL. Hmm, yes, the bushido spirit lives. Seamenship!!!!

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I wonder how much if this is male on male sexual harassment? They seem to have left that part out of the article.

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The officers lead by example, and it appears the example they are setting is rather bad indeed, yet they get away with it.

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kiss relay! omg. disgusting. this girl seems to have got off easy.

whats the difference between "forced sex" and outright rape?

what does bullying have to do with North Korea?

These women are basically turned into 21st century "comfort women".

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Japanese service men 'misbehaving'? Is that new?

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Women should not be in the armed forces.

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This is proof that Japans "self-defensse forces" are simply the Army, Navy and Airforce. Because this kind of thing goes on in every military in the world in various degrees.

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What a laughable article. Suffice to say sexual harassment is rampant in JAPAN.

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Its only typical of all armed forces. Theres no news in any of this. Next story will be "Self Defence Forces Wives Prostitution"-the poor husbands never knew their wives were in business till she popped out of the cake at the Ships Party(not that that ruined their party).

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This sounds just like the rest of Jpn, bullying, sexual harassment etc same all over Jpn except all these guys kissing each other, gross, that part seems to have not crept into the general population......

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SDF = Sick depraved F.... wonder what the F could be? To be honest it doesn't surprise me based on what their predessors got up to in the past and taking into account how neutered the SDF are now, they need to take out their pent up aggression somehow...

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SH in the SDF? Really?

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compared to corporate Japan is it better or worse?

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Given standards in normal life here, i am amazed that this article is so low key. would imagine women in SDF are basically seen by male SDF'ers as easy meat. Kiss relay and similar happen at lots of big J=company gatherings also.

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In addition to the obvious lack of discipline, there should simply be no alcohol in the military, ever. That would solve the vast majority of military problems the world over. Next they need to prosecute this, but not going to happen without a wiretap.

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And they think Japan is a democracy that protects human rights... I guess this has a lot to do with the women-only trains. Too many men feel that women are just like plastic puppets waiting to be touched for the pleasure of the "superior gender". "I am a man and you are a just woman. If I want to touch you, there is nothing you can do. I am the boss, you are just a human being of class B".

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In addition to the obvious lack of discipline, there should simply be no alcohol in the military, ever. That would solve the vast majority of military problems the world over. Next they need to prosecute this, but not going to happen without a wiretap.

This kind of stuff makes me sick. I think what needs to happen, is a tailhook scandal. Thats what forced the US military to change. Public charges, and expulsion for being involved, regardless of rank or duration of service. This needs to happen here too. There should be a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior, and the people up top need to make it clear that this behavior won't be tolerated from anyone!

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harassment is disgusting, no matter where and how

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Organizations and government have to empower the people to stand-up against harassment in the workplace.

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Oh, I had a very shock to this news.. Because I'm going to enter Japan Ground Self Defence Force! But there is soooo many men, I guessed that occur to sexual harassment for women military. However, it must not leave that this problem. I don't know how long it takes for improve the matter, I hope the environment will be better than present. i want to JSDF to became a good image for all the people. I am egoistic?lol Btw,Untill only about 4months i enter JGSDF. I feel nervous by this news..

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No person deserves to be sexual harassed, sad that it seems to on such a large scale.

“Natsumi,” 23, served in the Ground Self Defense Force until last year... Often it’s simply impossible to go public over sexual harassment.”

Ironic considering she is talking to the public about sexual harassment when making that statement.

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it is natural

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