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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

17 comments

  • Rebekah S.
    03/24/2020 21:41

    Change law now and throw rapist in jail!!

  • Saleem S.
    03/16/2020 03:24

    Bravo.

  • Shane K.
    03/15/2020 04:32

    But what happened to the senior journalist who had supposedly raped her? It's great that her actions amended ancient rape laws but a big piece of the puzzle is missing from this story. Whether her initial allegations were true or not. Brut didn't follow up with the senior journalist's case and failed to mention anything about him, whether he was found guilty or not.

  • Bruce F.
    03/15/2020 02:35

    WOW What an incredibly brave woman, she is a definite hero, it’s so bad what she had to go through, that is one of the nastiest things a man can do to a woman, thankfully she survived and changed the law for women (and men) for eternity. She should be made a Saint.

  • Alissa Z.
    03/14/2020 18:22

    Taking it head on and dive deeper... results!? You either face it now and walking away with one less problem; or you are living with a bad dream the rest of your life. And that it has always my motor to live life. But often time for issues less severe ? It will helped to shed light and not tragedies... so speak up !!! We are born with one mouth, one brain and two hands and a pair of leg. How we use it , it will give a different result.

  • Сулис С.
    12/21/2019 17:03

    Smart girl & great..

  • Shady
    12/20/2019 01:19

    Respect! A Strong woman

  • Julia S.
    12/18/2019 18:18

    💪💪💪💪💪

  • Suvojit M.
    08/31/2019 20:45

    Metoo is crap

  • Khushboo P.
    08/29/2019 06:32

    Rape isn't a culture it's a crime.

  • Yasar M.
    08/28/2019 17:01

    why Brut 'india' sharing Japan news, please consider only india in your news

  • Lalit K.
    08/28/2019 09:37

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/125872648110938/permalink/387041778660689/

  • Apurba K.
    08/28/2019 09:13

    Really sad to see the sorry face of Shiori Ito the young girl.Really disappointed to know such wretched condition of women in JAPAN that a woman had to leave her motherland after being a rape victim by a powerful man and she did not get any cooperation from Government.Absolutely beyond imagination that such thing can happen in JAPAN.It is known that JAPAN is developed country but what is this a old man raped a young woman making her unconcious and doing such hateful crime conspired to drive the victim girl out of the country.So, if there was no """Metoo""movement happened the world could not know such crime on an innocent educated cultured gentle sober polite girl journalist.All the girls are girls of the world .But Shiori Ito really done a magnificent job to draw attention of the women not to be ashamed for what they are not guilty but other criminal minded men are guilty .So punish the rapist as do the ARABIAN countries do.Really so.

  • Poonam D.
    08/28/2019 08:03

    How I have absolutely no patience with this shit manipulation known as “metoo” !

  • Kiranjeet K.
    08/28/2019 07:36

    Its not abt india,pakistan ,japan or china or any other country ...its abt respecting women...so called male community always possessive of women being at the forefront of development and education and carrier ....so they use the weapon of rape to demoralise women

  • Tarun K.
    08/28/2019 07:23

    The initiator has to always sacrifice but that is the price you pay for becoming a legend

  • Sami A.
    08/28/2019 07:04

    i think whole india is a victim of meetoo