politics

LDP lawmaker calls sexual harassment whistleblowing almost 'crime'

55 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

55 Comments
Login to comment

Foot in mouth time again already!

23 ( +24 / -1 )

I'd like to add its perfectly legal to record conversations in Japan, moral maybe not but legal.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

My question is this, were the statements truly "off the record"? There has to be an assumption of trust between a reporter and source, and if off the record statements are in fact recorded and used, no one in their right mind is going to talk with Asahi ever again.

It does not in any way excuse the actions nor words of the minister, he rightfully stepped down. Maybe the end justified the means in this case, but it opens a huge can of worms. Consider a whistle-blower situation,as an example.....

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Problem in such cases is my word against your word and whom is louder or has the most power wins.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

In a speech Shimomura made Sunday in Tokyo, the 63-year-old said the reporter secretly recording the conversation with Fukuda and then taking it to the magazine was "a crime in a sense,

then

"Most TV broadcasters (are trying to) force Prime Minister Abe out of power...I'm really inclined to think the Japanese media are trying to crush Japan," Shimomura said.

Move on, people, nothing to see here, just another right-winger flirting with open support for authoritarian fascism.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

"a crime in a sense,"

.....that she did not record all the earlier sleazy conversations!

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Destroy Japan? How about save Japan?

IMO, another LDPer who needs to go.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Another dinosaur twit...luckily LDP has a neverending supply of them to help ensure this issue stays in the headlines a bit longer.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Shimomura is a nasty little corrupt proto-fascist with ties to the yakuza and big Juku. He should be in jail, not spouting his garbage in the media.

21 ( +23 / -2 )

A personal interaction that has nothing to do with neithers work is not an off the record incident. It's a personal one. Blaming the reporter while not admonishing the perpetrator seems a one sided argument.

"Crush Japan" a little emotive. Media doing their Job is now a threat to Japan? What they are exposing is more of a threat to Japan. The list of dubious Government decisions headed by Shinzo and co is quite extensive. And these bizarre statements by a former "Education" minister must call into question the criteria used to choose these people.

Im waiting for the Media to be warned by the Government that their licenses are not guaranteed. Done that before.

Thank you Communist Party for releasing this Fascists pathetic attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Whether covertly or not, folk in public office should be aware of what they say at all times. Fukuda was caught out and did the right thing. This Shimomura isn't fit enough to hold any post after these comments. And this coming from a former eductation minister!!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Fukuda was caught out and did the right thing.

Maybe san, could you elaborate on this statement.

It has me puzzled.

Gary

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What a surprise. Abe increasingly under pressure - meets Trump a few times - LDP starts critisizing the media in defence of scandals.

Absolutely pathetic.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

@yubaru, the record pertains to official matters before the minister or his office. It does not pertain to sexual misconduct or illegal acts that the minister is saying or committing. This is why the govt is still in power because they throw out half truths.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where do they find these guys? Do they have anyone with a little bit of common decency there in Kasumigaseki?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@Gary

Don't read the news much bud, do you?

I'd recognise my voice on a tape...wouldn't you?

Fukuda is just like any other politician...you never get a straight yes or no to a closed question.

I just wish he'd taken his ex boss with him.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So basically what he appears to be saying, is he thinks politicians should be untouchable.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I thought this was an April fools joke...but this is japan

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I'm not surprised at all. He is a member of the LDP

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I actually get his concern to some degree - people speaking off the record need to trust that they are speaking off the record and not being recorded, so if the content of what was recorded and then passed on to others is ignored (see my comments below before you freak out), it is actually is a valid concern.

But that said, 'off the record' refers to information being provided, not to sexual harassment. There is no such thing as off the record sexual harassment, and simply because one says 'this is off the record' does not give them a get out of jail free card for said sexual harassment.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

This guy is a fool.

Although I do suspect secret recordings like this could not be used in a court of law or anything due to the reasonable expectation of privacy concept.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I do suspect secret recordings like this could not be used in a court of law or anything due to the reasonable expectation of privacy concept.

In Japan they can be. Or at least, so I've been told. I recorded a conversation in the past, and the lawyer informed me that it was ok, even without consent of the other party.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Say what?

almost beggars belief but this is standard thinking among some of these people. Beyond the pale.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

No such thing as off the record when talking to the press or a politicians comments. You are always on record and as such, should be on your guard. Walk a straight line with honesty and no amount of trickery will catch you out.

Bleating that it was secretly recorded...pfft...it's only then the real persona is revealed.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

No, the crime is what he said to the reporter. If these dirty old men cannot conduct themselves in a professional manner without sexual innuendoes they should not be in office. They also have to learn that in 2018 they cannot talk to professional women like they are talking to their slutty hostess.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Whst a sad, pathetic individual

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I guess we will be seeing a lot more secret recordings being made public from now on.. No speech can be considered private anymore

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Shinomura is an ultra-con whose opinions and comments over the years has placed him decidedly at the top of the nippon-kaigi heap.

He has openly stated his views re schooling, women, society, history etc, all reflecting his right wing agenda.

I especially recall the case in 2013/4? when Matsue board of education decided to ban (severely restrict) acess to the classic horrors of war manga, "Barefoot Gen" by Keiji Nakazawa at elementary & junior high schools. The book is a reverred part of Japanese post war literature. Shinomura as then Minister of Education supported the decision as he believed the depictions of the horrors of war was too graphic for young minds - their sensibilities may be damaged. But we all know it was because of his revisionist views on history and his (and others) desire to mold modern Japan in his nationalistic image.

Unable to accept an iota of criticism, this story of his comments re the sexual harrassment case, confirms his status as one who belongs in a by-gone era, long bygone.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I guess we will be seeing a lot more secret recordings being made public from now on.. No speech can be considered private anymore

I seriously doubt that. Anyone who is able to hold a nuanced opinion on a matter, and see matters as more than just black and white, will be able to see the difference between reporting on someone sexually harassing someone, and confidential comments made with the expectation of remaining anonymous.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Shimomura served as education minister under Abe until October 2015.

Thank goodness this fellow is no longer in the education ministry (?)

8 ( +8 / -0 )

papigiulio

Where do they find these guys?

They don't. Most of them inherit their positions from their parents or grandparents.

Do they have anyone with a little bit of common decency there in Kasumigaseki?

NO

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Sorry, but if an interview is "off-record" you don't then secretly record it and publish it. Bad form.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Sorry, but if an interview is "off-record" you don't then secretly record it and publish it. Bad form.

It would appear that you are saying that because the interviewee had said the interview was 'off record', that any sexual harassment done to the interviewer after that point is off limits and also 'off record'?

If you're not saying that, then can you clarify exactly what you mean?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

"There has to be an assumption of trust between a reporter and source, and if off the record statements are in fact recorded and used, no one in their right mind is going to talk with Asahi ever again."

What?!

Point 1: "There has to be an assumption of trust between a reporter and source," If normal human decency is observed.

Point 2: "no one in their right mind is going to talk with Asahi ever again." Yeah... unless they are a normal decent human.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

they are being so critical of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe it is as though they are trying to destroy the country.

As if Abe is going to keep Japan afloat?

No, the media simply want to call out those who appear to be, scumbags abusing their power.

That said, I do myself too have a problem with the way the reporter outed the scumbag Finance ministry official. 

The official is certainly seemingly a jerk, but is it a crime to be a jerk?

I recall myself in the past feeling uncomfortable with some comments made to me by someone of another gender. I dealt with it (by talking to my future wife about and) by avoiding that person for thenceforth. It didn't even occur to me to out the person for acting as a jerk. (Is it too late? #MeToo)

I guess this is a question for society today in 2018. Are there going to be laws that clearly define the distinction between being a jerk and committing the crime of "sexual harassment", however that legally come to be defined?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

fxgai - good points you raised, but how do you know Fukuda was simply being a jerk as you put it?

Other accounts I've read, seem to paint a picture of a guy who has had his way for a long time, in inappropriately addressing / demeaning women.

This case was not a one-off. The journalist recorded the harrassment after many many similar episodes over 1 ~ 2 years.

If there was no recording it would be the classic "Just her word against mine" and nothing - and that means nothing - would have ever happened.

This stops the rot.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Please resign your thoughts and ideas belong in a by gone era. Take Shinzo and Taro with you.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@CrickyToday 08:17 am JST

"Crush Japan" a little emotive. Media doing their Job is now a threat to Japan? What they are exposing is more of a threat to Japan. The list of dubious Government decisions headed by Shinzo and co is quite extensive. And these bizarre statements by a former "Education" minister must call into question the criteria used to choose these people.

It depends. If for example you believe that revision of Article 9 is necessary for Japan, and Abe is the only guy who has the mix of motivation, resources, position ... etc to have a serious chance of doing it, then every time the media reports a scandal it weakens him and thus his ability to get that revision done. Even though they are doing their job, they are also indirectly harming Japan.

Things like this do happen.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiToday 01:16 pm JST

@CrickyToday 08:17 am JST

If for example you believe that revision of Article 9 is necessary for Japan, and Abe is the only guy who has the mix of motivation, resources, position ... etc to have a serious chance of doing it...

I believe neither.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Fxgai, “I recall myself in the past feeling uncomfortable with some comments made to me by someone of another gender. I dealt with it (by talking to my future wife about and) by avoiding that person for thenceforth.”

Which was a solution for you that worked presumably because you were able to avoid that person without drastic consequences. But reporters lose their livelihoods if they have to avoid their sources.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What a muppet.

Even if Fukuda was "set up" by the reporter who recorded with the intention of sharing with the media, he had it coming...he probably says sukebe oyaji stuff like that all the time.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

No rational person can uphold the views expressed by Hakubun Shimomura who has equated whistleblowing in sexual harassment cases equal to crime . Whistleblowing, trumpet and drum beating is essential to catch and expose all those who indulge in sexual harassment of women in the society. PM Abe government should make law against sexual harassment cases more stringent as is recently made by Modi government in India to curb such evil practices and protect women from sexual harassment.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Ever since Abe became PM, attempts to control the media and journalists gave been ceaseless.

In addition to controlling access through kisha clubs, they have attempted to hamstring the media by relentlessly pressuring TV stations to remove hosts seen to be critical, by attacking the media for negative coverage of the LDP, and last but not least, with the heinous state secrets law.

Since the state secrets law established penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment for journalists who encourage civil servants to leak information, this reporters hands were tied and she did what she had to do - maybe the only thing she could do to get the story. Good on her.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I thought that 'off the record' simply meant that information provided would not be attributed, and has nothing to do with recording or not recording. But if he intended to ask about breasts and as a cover for this planned action said that what he said next was off the record, then it shows criminal intent, not just asshattery.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I thought that 'off the record' simply meant that information provided would not be attributed, and has nothing to do with recording or not recording.

That's entirely correct, same as someone could be on the record, without being recorded.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

fxgai - good points you raised, but how do you know Fukuda was simply being a jerk as you put it?

I am certain he is a jerk (based on what has been reported), but is it a crime to be a jerk?

I don’t like jerks who behave like he did, but I do have a mind for due process.

I wouldn’t like to be forced out of my work if I were wrongly accused of being a jerk, but it seems that this may now be a precedent for that.

Just gotta hope that one is never wrongly accused.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

fxgai - a jerk he may well be.

But as it all appears from a variety of sources, he is a compulsive sexually harrassing jerk, which elevates his status above the "mere jerk" level.

Bottom line is - in this day and age of run amok technology, if you are a Very Public Figure - ie the Vice Finance Minister - and you persist with and refuse to desist from anti-social behaviour, then you're open game. You put your own credibility and career on the line and guaranteee to embarrass family & friends causing great suffering.

The words I posted before are apt - bygone actions from a bygone era. Sexually harass, then accept that there are severe consequences.

Being a jerk is the least of his worries.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Educator60,

Which was a solution for you that worked presumably because you were able to avoid that person without drastic consequences. But reporters lose their livelihoods if they have to avoid their sources.

In this sense I have a bigger problem with her employer. She seemingly had raised the matter internally but nothing was done about it, so she took this alternative action.

But I don’t think she needed to give up her livelihood to cover this once source, who is a jerk that she met over dinner to get information. Her employer should have taken measures. Through HR depts etc.

I just don’t see how being a jerk is an actual crime. There are many sorts of jerks. Are we going to try to ban it all?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I hear you browny, it’s not this jerk that I am worried for so much as many other jerks who might just make the odd innocent mistake once in awhile. No one is perfect, certainly not this guy, but my issues are in a more general sense...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fxgai, “In this sense I have a bigger problem with her employer.”

As I mentioned in another thread, I feel TV Asahi’s handling of the reporter’s complaint was inept. They should have backed her up and protected her and taken action so that she wouldn’t have felt a need to go to other media.

I don’t agree that Fukuda, or anyone in a similar high and powerful position who acts in this way, is merely “a jerk”.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Where I come from, a jerk is pretty bad, but still not a crime.

Sure if for example he was knowingly using his position to make reporters uncomfortable then yeah both sexual and power harassment would be fitting terms beyond mere jerkiness, but I don’t know those details personally to say.

He could be just another standard jerk for all I know, is what I mean. Of course I don’t mean to deny he could be worse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Welcome to Japan!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It depends. If for example you believe that revision of Article 9 is necessary for Japan, and Abe is the only guy who has the mix of motivation, resources, position ... etc to have a serious chance of doing it, then every time the media reports a scandal it weakens him and thus his ability to get that revision done. Even though they are doing their job, they are also indirectly harming Japan.

A truly excellent post, Kazuaki! You just summed up the past 6 years,and especially everything going on now, in one succinct paragraph.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Problem in such cases is my word against your word and whom is louder or has the most power wins.

No. There is an actual recording. That is what legal professionals refer to as "evidence".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LDP members behave as if they own Japan & its people.

Neoconservatives behave similarly both in USA & Japan

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites