Defense Minister Minoru Kihara on Tuesday criticized as “outrageous” the response by the Maritime Self-Defense Force to a sexual harassment case that occurred last year in which a male perpetrator was forced to apologize directly to the female victim despite her refusal to meet with him.

The harassment, which the ministry said occurred from August to December of 2022 and involved the perpetrator hugging the victim from behind at a Self-Defense Forces facility as well as lewd comments directed toward her, ultimately saw the female MSDF member resign.

"This is outrageous and without regard for the feelings of the victim,” Kihara said after a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. “We will deal with the matter strictly in accordance with the law.”