The #MeToo campaign against harassment, which hit several countries, had little impact in Japan, where sexual abuse victims are often encouraged to shut up
When a producer violated the Japanese Rinko Nakajiri after promising to record a disc, the singer, who was then 17 years old, did not denounce it for fear of ending his dreams of succeeding in the music industry.
Twenty years later, this housewife, who left the world of music long ago, decided to face her fears, encouraged by the #MeToo movement, which denounces the sexual violence suffered by many women.
That campaign, which reached several countries, barely had an impact on Japan, where sexual abuse victims are often encouraged to shut up.
„It’s almost impossible to talk about this in Japan,“ Nakajiri told AFP. „There is a terrible taboo about rape, people prefer to keep it a secret.“
This mother of two remembers that she was assaulted „in a studio, late at night (…) and many times“ after that first time. „I was afraid that my career would end if I resisted or if I talked about it,“ he confesses.
Although the Japanese media covered the case of Harvey Weinstein, an American film producer accused of sexual abuse by more than a hundred women, few journalists tried to investigate the existence of similar cases in the country and almost no woman in the entertainment world complained. crimes of that type.
– „Threats“ –
The Japanese Shiori Ito paid a very high price for telling her story last year. The 28-year-old journalist accused a colleague of having drugged and raped her in 2015 after inviting her to a professional dinner
Ha-Chu, writer and blogger, is one of the exceptions. In December, she reported having been harassed by a creative manager of the Dentsu advertising group, Yuki Kishi, when she worked at that company.
Kishi, who had created his own company after leaving Dentsu, publicly apologized and announced his resignation after several media outlets published Ha-Chu’s testimony.
In Japan, where society is still marked by patriarchy, denouncing this type of violence usually has consequences.
Shiori Ito paid a very high price for telling his story last year. The 28-year-old journalist accused a colleague of having drugged and raped her in 2015 after inviting her to a professional dinner.
For having published his story in a book called „Black box“ (Black box), was the subject of a wave of attacks on the Internet. „I have received messages that treated me as a bitch, as a prostitute“, recalls the journalist, who recently spoke at the United Nations headquarters.
„I have also received threats and I have feared for the life of my family,“ says Shiori Ito, who regrets that they took advantage of a medical examination to submit her to an „interrogation“ and denounces the attitude of the policemen, who asked her to pamper her rape with a life-size doll that represented his alleged attacker.
– Centennial law –
„There is no doubt that the #MeToo movement caused some people to take the floor,“ says Sachi Nakajima, former victim of domestic violence and founder of the NGO Resiliencia, which helps women affected by abuse.
However, the story of Shiori Ito „did not cause any change, nothing happens, no one is arrested, even in his case,“ he laments.
The police waited three weeks before opening an investigation, and the alleged assailant, who denies the accusations, has not been indicted. Ito filed a civil lawsuit against him.
Japanese taxi driver Kazuyo Saito, who stopped working at night to reduce the risk of being assaulted, along with her vehicle in November 2017 in Tokyo
Sachi Nakajima criticizes the centennial Japanese law on sexual crimes, which Parliament had not reformed until last year, when it approved to expand the notion of violation and tighten sanctions.
In 2017, only one third of the complaints for violation led to trials, and only 285 of the 1,678 people tried were sentenced to more than three years in prison, according to the Ministry of Justice.
And according to a survey conducted by the government in 2017, only 2.8% of rape victims said they had spoken to the police, while 58.9% said they had not informed anyone, even their friends or family. .
In Japan, „many men think that women’s bodies belong to them,“ says Sachi Nakajima, who believes that in his country „the definition of consent is totally distorted.“
„If you go to a police station to report a burglary, nobody tells you ‚why was not he at home at that moment?‘ It is as absurd as saying [to a woman who denounces an assault]: ’surely the you provoked ‚“, he is outraged.