(Dan Tri) – Japan increasingly calls for women to join the army, but has not found effective measures to protect female soldiers from sexual harassment.

Soldiers of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) participate in a seminar on preventing harassment (Photo: Reuters).

As Japan embarks on a massive military expansion, it has struggled to fill the ranks of the female soldiers it needs and the commitment of policymakers, Reuters reported.

Following sexual harassment scandals, the number of women applying to join the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) decreased by 12% in March 2023, after years of steady growth.

Explaining the above decline, some victims said the cause may be due to a culture of harassment, which makes women no longer want to contribute to the military.

According to a report published in August 2023, a panel appointed by the Japanese government said the military had implemented training programs on sexual harassment prevention in a superficial and superficial way.

In an interview with Reuters, a victim of sexual harassment shared that she felt the harassment prevention training programs she had participated in over the past 10 years were of little help.

Women make up only 9% of the military in Japan.

According to┬áReuters, in an email response, Japan’s Ministry of National Defense said harassment `should never be allowed to happen, as it destroys trust between soldiers and weakens the strength of the military.`

Japan’s Ministry of National Defense shared that it has been holding expert-led harassment prevention lectures since 2023, shifting the sessions to a more discussion format and planning to invite experts to evaluate the program.

However, the Ministry did not respond to questions about whether it would implement the expert group’s recommendation to centralize training supervision.

After former soldier Rina Gonoi went public with sexual assault allegations in 2022, Japan’s Ministry of National Defense conducted a survey that year, uncovering more than 170 allegations of sexual harassment within the SDF.

Some officers worry that focusing too much on a sensitive topic like sexual harassment could affect internal operations and create problems in resolving complaints.

Sharing about how to deal with sexual harassment in the military, Reuters quoted a law professor saying that Japan can learn from other countries’ militaries.

`The US, UK and France have prevented harassment from the roots. Specifically, sexual harassment prevention training programs in these countries focus on improving the environment and building a culture

Bui Thuy

According to Reuters