While the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for people across the archipelago, the pressures have been compounded for women, The New York Times reports. In Japan, 6,976 women took their lives last year, nearly 15% more than in 2019. It was the first year-over-year increase in more than a decade.
The number of domestic violence consultations in Japan also reached a record 82,643 in 2020, as people spent more time at home. More than three-quarters of the victims were women.
On the flip side, Japan reported a dip in sexual harassment cases in 2020, also likely due to the stay-home trend. But these cases likely mark the tip of the iceberg, as many women simply don’t know how or don’t feel able to respond to sexual harassment when it happens, experts tell Rebecca Saunders.
Women documenting sex crimes by U.S. military personnel in Okinawa also believe they are only scratching the surface of a wider problem, Kyodo reports. A chronology titled “Postwar U.S. Military Crimes Against Women in Okinawa,” which was just six pages long in its first edition in 1996, now stretches to 26 pages and lists around 350 crimes, as hidden cases continue to emerge.