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Japanese Women Resisting Sexual Harassment

Women in Japan are teaching their daughters that they do not have to endure sexual harassment. Juri Yukita, a sexual harassment lawyer in Japan, said “The atmosphere is really changing, and many women realize now that sexual harassment is against their rights.”

Yukita helped to remove Isamu Yokoyama, Governor of Osaka. In December 1999, the Osaka District Court ordered Yokoyama to pay $107,000 in damages to his accuser a record amount for a sexual harassment case in Japan. Yukita represented the 21-year old university student who had worked on the governor’s re-election campaign, who claimed Yokoyama fondled her in a van.

The case against Governor Yokoyama was a landmark case in the battle against sexual harassment in Japan, bringing serious and international attention to the issue. Weeks after the Yokoyama ruling, Japan’s national police chief, Yuko Sekiguchi, resigned in the midst of several departmental scandals involving harassment of female police officers by male police officers.

Sources:

Boston Globe - January 25, 2000 and Feminist Majority Foundation News - December 21, 1999