Internal Affairs Minister Seiko Noda Photo: REUTERS file
politics

Ministers question fairness of bureaucrat's sexual harassment probe

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This is why so many women in Japan never want to come forward. No doubt the majority of questions by the "Investigators" would also be about the women's sexual histories, and possibly even the color of their panties. The goal is to discourage women from coming forward to protect their fellow male politician.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I don't know about this one. Why are they "out drinking" together? That doesn't seem professional on both sides. Reporters must maintain a distance between themselves and people and organizations they reporting on. Otherwise, fairness and objectivey are thrown out the window.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Noda, one of the few female ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, asked Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, and Finance Minister Taro Aso to deal with the issue carefully.

Good luck with that. They are probably in on it too.

Either way Japan needs more women like her, hope she gets to the bottom of it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Old men in power, entitled to ask for a groping and even when recorded denile. Well maybe it was Someone else behind me who had a similar voice as me?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Locker room banter?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I don't know about this one. Why are they "out drinking" together? That doesn't seem professional on both sides. Reporters must maintain a distance between themselves and people and organizations they reporting on. Otherwise, fairness and objectivey are thrown out the window.

It's actually pretty standard practice for reporters and sources - which this guy, as a top MOF bureaucrat, was - to go out to meals and so on, so they can talk in a less formal setting. Also, this is how people leak things; they won't do that in their offices. In Japan, unsurprisingly, this also involves alcohol. Cultivating sources takes a long time and yes, building friendly relations is a big part of this.

Locker room banter?

Not unless "may I sleep with you" and "Can I touch your breasts?" are locker room banter.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@el: Write about Japan where reporters meet the subjects at izakayas and restaurants to scoop stories. If you want to deframe female reporters, learn about ABC of Japanese building to create your story.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't know about this one. Why are they "out drinking" together?

I had the same thought, it wasn’t like he was giving reporters a press conference q and a - but the difficulty with sexual harassment is that if the victim feels sexually harassed, then it is sexual harassment. The reporters may have gone out drinking with the guy but they may have regarded this as part of their work, whereas he may have thought the drinking scene was off work - in any case asking your female drinking buddies if you can touch their bodies is a no-no in this day and age, but still I question whether this guys career being destroyed over it is fair - I hate to question the victims but if it were me, I’d leave the drinking venue. Blowing it up into a sexual harassment allegation seems somewhat vindictive.

That doesn't seem professional on both sides.

I am not a reporter, but I have a reporter friend and he and I have dined with a group including staff of a ministry. It came about through common interests in my case, but the drinking and dining was nothing more than that. Could be similar thing here I suppose, but these days you do have to think about what you say to women (and men) carefully... a bit tough if you are full of beer but it is what it is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sexual Harassment is unwanted sexual attention.

Sexual attention when it’s wanted or not offensive, or when done by someone attractive is great.

But if you dare to preposition a lady who thinks that unwanted attention is harassment, you had better be hot.

—thoughts of a former doorman who sat for years watching people hook up.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Cultivating sources takes a long time...."

A "source" is normally an aide or other lowering ranking staffer, close to a newsmaker but not actually the newsmaker, ie, not one of the govt's top policymakers.

"this is how people leak things"

If someone in Fukuda's position is "leaking" important government info, he should have been fired and otherwise reprimanded a long time ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't know about this one. Why are they "out drinking" together? That doesn't seem professional on both sides. Reporters must maintain a distance between themselves and people and organizations they reporting on. Otherwise, fairness and objectivey are thrown out the window.

I see where you’re coming from but in Japan drinking is a part of one’s work more than in the West.

Out drinking doesn’t necessarily mean mutual romantic interests and that she must be responsible then for leading him on.

For a reporter, drinking is how you get the interviewee to loosen up and divulge more for you to write that breaking story.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don’t know about the world of politics and journalism, but having worked in the corporate world in Japan, I can attest to the fact that rules of respect often go out the window when there is a work dinner or drinks session. Male executives think nothing of making sexist remarks and groping is common.

In particular, the office female admin staff (OL) is regarded as fair game in many cases and of course women are still regarded as second class citizens in many aspects of Japanese corporate, legal and family life.

This particular offer to other claimants to ambush potential claimants by encouraging them to directly contact the accused’s legal counsel is completely offensive. Why are they not being encouraged to contact their own counsel or the Police?

I’m other words, they are saying... “Come on into the Lion’s den so we can formally apologize, and at the same time warn you of the embarrassment you will face if you take proceedings (and maybe if you are lucky offer you a small sum of money so you go away without going public). Of course, if you decline, we will have to call the boss of your news outlet to advise him of the matter and try to reach a consensus as to who was at fault.”

Based on what I have seen in Japan, the actions here are at the milder end of what goes on under the pretence of alcohol induced “fun”. The situation is far worse in the corporate world where the jobs of women are often implicitly linked to expectations of putting up with sexist comments and actions day in and day out.

Of course America and other Western countries have their issues as the #metoo movement has shown, but there is little chance a similar movement could gain traction in Japan’s sexist and male dominated society.

I should add that there are many decent men in Japan who would condemn this, but unfortunately this type of sexist behaviour is fairly widespread and institutionalised.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Shinchou is one of largest magazine company. It knows revealing the name of this female is not right time yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 to get to the bottom of each one of the issues 

Interesting choice of words....Wasn't that part of the problem ?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Joking aside, the way that Women are treated in Japan, within the workplace, and outside of it is very 1950's America.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I tend to agree with the comment by a lawyer on one of the late evening TV news programs last night. She said that it’s only necessary to determine if the voice in the recording is that of Fukuda or not. That they things he said constitute harassment regardless of who the other person is or of their occupation, therefore that person need not be identified whatsoever. Fukuda has said he engages in wordplay at drinking establishments (hostess clubs) after work. But the lawyer said nowadays this kind of talk would be unacceptable even with a hostess. The only exception I can think of would be if it was some kind of mutually agreed, mutually agreeable role play sexual play kind of situation but I don’t think that’s likely in this case.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, that was an interesting evening. Now Fukuda has resigned, without admitting the harassment. And Asahi held a press conference to say the female reporter who supplied the recording to Shincho was one of theirs etc.

And in another scandal, the Gov of Niigata is resigning because he paid women that he met online at met at a hotel for sex. He is single but the fact he gave them money doesn’t look good to say the least.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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