National / Crime & Legal

Journalist sues city of Nagasaki over alleged sexual violence by senior official

JIJI

A journalist Thursday filed a damages lawsuit against the city of Nagasaki over alleged sexual violence during her newsgathering activities by a senior municipal official, who has since taken his own life.

The suit was filed with Nagasaki District Court. She is seeking some ¥35 million in damages.

According to her complaint, the journalist was sexually assaulted in Nagasaki in late July 2007 by the head of the city government’s division handling affairs related to victims and survivors of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

The man killed himself after the city government started internal investigations.

The journalist, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, was also the target of rumors due to remarks by another senior Nagasaki official who saw her behavior as a problem, according to the complaint.

Recognizing human rights violations, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations recommended that the city apologize and take preventive measures in February 2014.

But the city rejected the recommendations, prompting the journalist to file the suit, according to her lawyers.

The journalist issued a statement, saying she is still traumatized by the local government’s attitude.

“I hear that other female journalists suffered sexual violence,” she said, expressing hope that it will become easier for victims of sexual violence to receive assistance.

Mayor Tomihisa Taue declined to comment, only saying that the city government will respond after examining the complaint.