Japan lawmakers question sexual harassment probe

Cabinet ministers and other lawmakers questioned the Finance Ministry’s handling into a sexual harassment probe. The allegations were made by female reporters against Junichi Fukuda, a top government official, after the ministry asked the reporters to come forward and speak to lawyers.


Seiko Noda, an internal affairs minister, said that it’s a hurdle for victims. She is also in charge of female empowerment in Japan.


photo credit to: https://japantoday.com

One of the few female ministers in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, asked Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Finance Minister Taro Aso, to deal with the issue carefully.


The administrative vice minister has denied the allegations and said he will sue the publisher of the Shukan Shincho magazine that issued the story for defamation.


The magazine reported that Fukuda sexually harassed female reporters while out drinking. It also released an audio clip of the official making comments like asking for hugs and asking to touch their breasts.


Fukuda denied the allegations during an interview with the Finance Ministry and said that he has never made remarks that would make the female reporters feel uncomfortable and sexually harass them.


To ensure objectivity, the ministry has turned to lawyers to look into the matter independently and asked female reporters who think they have been sexually harassed by Fukuda to come forward and contact the lawyers.


But other ministers and officials joined Noda and stressed that protection should be given to female reporters if they have been sexually harassed.


The minister-in- charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, Shunichi Suzuki, said the matter must be handled carefully as the victims would feel more pain if their names are disclosed.


Since the sexual harassment allegations were reported, ruling and opposition party lawmakers have been stepping up calls for Fukuda to resign.


Reference: Japan ministers question fairness of Finance Ministry’s sexual harassment probe


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