The United States on Friday said it would honor former Self-Defense Forces soldier Rina Gonoi with the International Women of Courage Award for bringing about change in the Japanese military with her victory in a sexual harassment case.

Gonoi, 24, will be among 12 recipients globally of the U.S. award on Monday, according to a U.S. State Department statement, with recognition also going to women from Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Cuba and others.

"It makes me happy if people saw courage through my actions or they were inspired to change. Accepting this award means my actions weren't wrong. I hope I can give courage to people, and to the people that cannot stand up for themselves," Gonoi said in an exclusive interview.