On Wednesday (5-1), Washington Post printed a feature article on the pervasive nature of sexual harassment in Japanese companies. In Japan, the women men deal with on a regular basis are either office ladies” who are to do whatever their male bosses ask of them, or workers at hostess bars who are expected to treat the male customers graciously regardless of the men’s conduct. Women in both positions can expect to hear men comment on their beauty or breast size.
Japanese law does not provide victims of sexual harassment with much hope of receiving damages, and companies face little threat of being forced to change by costly litigation as in the U.S. In fact, only 20 sexual harassment suits against companies have been filed in Japan, and one of the largest cases only awarded $16,000 in damages to the victim. Most cases settle out of court for less than $10,000 after the company apologizes to the woman. Rarely do women get the transfers they request, and perpetrators are almost never fired