Journalist Wins $30,000 in Sex Assault Case That Sparked Japan’s #MeToo Movement
By Khier Casino
December 18, 2019
A journalist in Japan who accused a high-profile television reporter of raping her in 2015 won around 3.3 million yen ($30,000) in damages in a Tokyo court on Wednesday.
Judge Akihiro Suzuki said in his ruling that he found 30-year-old Shiori Ito’s account in a civil lawsuit of being assaulted by 53-year-old Noriyuki Yamaguchi in April 2015 “highly trustworthy,” the New York Times reported.
Suzuki continued that Yamaguchi, a former Washington D.C. bureau chief for the Tokyo Broadcasting System and a biographer of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, committed “an illegal act” after he took Ito out to dinner in Tokyo to talk about job prospects.
Ito says she became unconscious while the two were at a sushi restaurant and that Yamaguchi dragged her to his hotel room. She woke up pinned down in his bed, Japan Times reported.
Ito insists that she attempted to stop Yamaguchi and believes that she was drugged by him, according to the Washington Post.
Yamaguchi said on Wednesday that he planned to appeal the ruling and maintains that he has done nothing illegal.
But Judge Suzuki found evidence against him to be credible, including security footage showing Ito being taken through the lobby of the hotel where Yamaguchi was staying.
Ito filed the civil suit in 2017 after prosecutors dropped the case in July 2016 citing insufficient evidence.
Ito believes Yamaguchi’s close ties to Prime Minister Abe led to her case being dropped.
According to the Post, her testimony has helped the #MeToo movement gain traction in Japan, with more rape cases being reported, women coming forward to discuss sexual harassment and protests about how such cases are handled.
“I am truly glad I was able to deliver everyone a good result,” Ito said while thanking her supporters outside the court. “Even with this much support, a victim can become nervous, worried. Even today, there are so many people who are fighting alone. I hope it will become easier for them to feel less worried going forward.”
Images via Getty
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