The Air Self-Defense Force decided Thursday to suspend a lieutenant general in his 50s from work for four days over power harassment, or workplace bullying by senior members of staff.

It is the first punitive action against an ASDF lieutenant general for harassment.

According to the ASDF, the lieutenant general repeatedly lectured three subordinates, for one to three hours each time, between August and December last year, with the lectures lacking concrete instructions. He also told them to submit or redo the same reports or documents over 20 times.

The ASDF was alerted to the problem in late January this year.

The lieutenant general said he thought that educating his subordinates without giving answers straight away was the most effective way of teaching, adding that he did not think his method was a form of harassment.

The ASDF said that the four-day suspension is appropriate because the lieutenant general did not resort to any physical or verbal abuse against the three and none of the ASDF members have taken a leave of absence from duty or were diagnosed with mental illness.

The case emerged despite the Defense Ministry's preventive efforts and a special inspection conducted after former Ground Self-Defense Force member Rina Gonoi went public about the sexual harassment she experienced in the SDF.

Thursday's decision came just two months after the power harassment case came to light.

On the unusually swift action, Gen. Hiroaki Uchikura, the ASDF's chief of staff, did not go into detail at a news conference Thursday, only saying that "an appropriate investigation was conducted."

He said he takes the situation seriously because measures against harassment had not worked sufficiently.