Supreme court upholds damages award in Japan’s #MeToo symbol rape case

Japan’s Supreme Court has issued a ruling ordering a former TV reporter to pay journalist Shiori Ito 3.3 million yen ($24,000) in damages over a high-profile rape case that helped spark the Japanese #MeToo movement.

The top court upheld a Tokyo High Court ruling in January in favor of Ito, saying Noriyuki Yamaguchi, a 56-year-old former Washington bureau chief for Tokyo Broadcasting System Television Inc., had had sex with her without her consent in 2015. decision dated July 7.

Photo taken in December 2019 showing Japanese journalist Shiori Ito, considered a symbol of the “#MeToo” movement in Japan. (Kyōdo) == Kyōdo

Ito, 33, said she was raped in a hotel while she was unconscious following a dinner in Tokyo with Yamaguchi, who had promised to help her find a job. The accused claimed that the act was consensual.

At the same time, the Supreme Court also upheld the decision of the High Court, which ruled in favor of Yamaguchi, ordering Ito to pay him 550,000 yen for defamation.

The high court said his claim in a book that he might have drugged her was not credible.

Ito had sought 11 million yen in damages for her rape, and Yamaguchi counter-sued, seeking 130 million yen in damages for damaging her reputation.

The decision of the first bench of the court, presided over by Judge Atsushi Yamaguchi, recognized Ito’s sexual assault allegations.

The Supreme Court ruling cited the High Court’s acknowledgment that Ito and the former TV reporter did not have a close relationship and that Ito consulted doctors and the police immediately after the incident.

After the incident, Ito had filed a criminal complaint with the police, but prosecutors chose in 2016 not to charge the defendant on insufficient grounds of suspicion. The Prosecution Investigation Committee also decided that it was appropriate not to prosecute.

Ito said she believed the defendant’s close ties to recently deceased former prime minister Shinzo Abe, about whom he wrote a bestseller, might have deterred prosecutors from pursuing the case.

After coming out with her real name and publishing a book in 2017 about her experience of sexual assault, Ito has become a symbol of the #MeToo movement in Japan. His decision drew a lot of sympathy and criticism in a country where few victims come forward.

Related coverage:

The symbol of the Japanese #MeToo movement has again been awarded damages in a rape case

Japan Considers Legislation to Allow Sanctions for Human Rights Violations

Journalist for the #MeToo movement among Time’s 100 most influential people

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