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How Shiori Ito Brought the #MeToo Movement to Japan

When Shiori Ito accused a high-profile journalist of rape, she did what was considered unthinkable in Japan. Now she's bringing attention to the country’s weak laws against sexual violence.

A beacon of resilience

The #MeToo movement had helped me a lot to protect myself, to make other people to believe. Meet Shiori Ito — the journalist who broke Japan’s silence on rape. In 2015, she accused Noriyuki Yamaguchi, a high-profile journalist and biographer of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, of drugging and raping her. Yamaguchi denied the charge and after a two-month investigation, prosecutors dropped the case. In Japan, only 4% of rape victims file a report and rape laws make no mention of consent based on data from the Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office.

Following the incident, she filed a complaint with police, but prosecutors dropped the case in July 2016, citing insufficient evidence. Ito later filed a complaint with the Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution, but it also judged in September 2017 that the prosecutors’ decision was “appropriate,” saying there was no reason to overturn it. The trial also includes a counter-lawsuit filed by Yamaguchi, who is seeking ¥130 million in compensation from Ito, claiming his social reputation has been damaged by her remarks.

To highlight the practical and legal hurdles faced by women affected by sexual violence — Ito did the “unthinkable” in Japan. In May 2017, she went public with her case and opened a civil lawsuit against Yamaguchi. Then came the backlash — forcing her to flee to London. A month later, Japan’s 110 years old sex crime law was amended, mandating longer sentences and allowing for broader definitions of rape. In October 2017, amid the explosion of #MeToo confessions, she published a book about her experience. Ito became a beacon of resilience and the face of the #MeToo movement in Japan, encouraging women to speak up. In 2018, two senior political figures were forced to resign, in the wake of sex harassment allegations.

Brut.

08/25/2019 11:58 AM
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32 comments

  • Bahreen K.
    08/25/2019 12:17

    Salute

  • Kimberly D.
    08/25/2019 12:40

    Thank you for your courage

  • Elaine P.
    08/25/2019 12:51

    Says so much about the society in Japan

  • Romesh K.
    08/25/2019 14:24

    Talk about it who you are,don't be hesitate

  • Tim L.
    08/25/2019 14:35

    They even don't want to apologise to the Korean comfort women. So, Japanese men are still aggressive.

  • Sharon A.
    08/25/2019 15:48

    life changes completely for a whistleblower, as if she were the evil one. The solution is public humiliation, castration and prison for the criminals

  • Armida H.
    08/25/2019 17:10

    She’s an example of courage and bravery...

  • David R.
    08/26/2019 08:46

    Whistleblowers are martyrs... They typically have nothing to gain and everything to lose. They speak out to put an end to systemic harm, so that others do not have to suffer as they have. If systemic harm can be reduced, then it is true justice. Justice is harm reduction.

  • Brut
    08/26/2019 13:51

    Learn more about Shiori Ito's story: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/07/08/national/crime-legal/court-hearing-journalist-shiori-ito-says-desperate-protect-rape/#.XWPjthNKhmA

  • Zerép A.
    08/27/2019 01:08

    Hije puta

  • Sonny W.
    08/27/2019 01:27

    🔖 Bookmarked.

  • Veronica J.
    08/27/2019 06:25

    Be strong!

  • Sky Y.
    08/28/2019 04:27

    Another victim! For people who don't know the Japanese Government MADE women enter into sex slavery during wars and still 2 this day they r not fully recognized with a formal apology.....

  • Dersin R.
    08/28/2019 07:15

    Good for you! Your parents warn you about never talked to strangers, never go outside alone, never leave you with make ups for attraction and always brush your teeth for bed time

  • Indra L.
    08/28/2019 13:03

    I'm sorry this happened to you I pray you will get justice. This world is filled with some sick weak ,vile, disgusting men.

  • Rafael M.
    08/28/2019 14:13

    The metoo movement has also destroyed lives with false accusations. But I'm glad to see when it actually does something right

  • Mamunur R.
    08/29/2019 08:35

    Thats the real face of women empowerment

  • Ifath C.
    08/29/2019 08:38

    I really really really hate how the law make for rape or sexual assault.. that made me think that this is a joke towards rape victims.. like some countries only have 2 years jail for that .. for this kind of crimes it should be death sentences because to me rape is also same as killing someone because rape not only physically but mentally destroy a person that suffers rest of their life .. that shameful to a country where woman can’t walk freely with fear of being raped

  • Bob J.
    08/29/2019 13:05

    BUT the Socialism Lovers in the USA keep claiming Japan, China, and a whole list of these kinds of Countries have better Lives than the USA with it's Constitutional Republic !!!!

  • Timothy S.
    09/01/2019 01:42

    When I was in the twelfth grade, an administrator threatened me with expulsion when I reported another student repeatedly subjecting me to sexual battery in class. Yet no agency will talk to me. I am not saying she didn't go through hell, I am just trying to get an organization to listen to men talk about being subjected to sex crimes.