Japan ex-soldier sues gov’t, colleagues over sexual abuse
TOKYO (AP) — A former Japanese soldier who reported being sexually abused by military colleagues said Monday she has filed a damage suit against five perpetrators and the government because she feels their earlier apologies were empty.
Rina Gonoi went public with her experience last year, demanding the Defense Ministry reinvestigate her case, in which she said she was repeatedly assaulted by several servicemen, causing her to give up her military career.
The military had dropped her case when she initially filed a complaint in 2021, saying there was insufficient evidence.
Japan's army in September acknowledged part of the misconduct after an internal probe and apologised.
Four of the five perpetrators personally apologised a month later to Gonoi.
The ministry in December dismissed the five servicemen and punished four others.
Gonoi said she decided to go to court after feeling that the five perpetrators still took their actions lightly and had stopped responding in their discussions toward a settlement.
She is seeking a total of 5.5 million yen from her assailants for their misconduct and her mental distress, and two million yen from the government over its failure to prevent the assaults, properly investigate and take appropriate steps.
Gonoi said she still admires the army and the work it does and wants it to become a place “where all servicemembers, men or women, are treated with respect and a sense of justice.”
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