Japanese female soldier who reported sexual violence in the Self-Defense Forces receives U.S. Women of Courage Award

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On the 4th (local time), Rina Konoi (center), who received the ‘World’s Courageous Woman Award’ for reporting sexual violence by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, at the White House in Washington, D.C., with Mrs. Jill Biden (left) and Secretary of State Tony Blinken. They are posing together. Washington = AP Newsis

“I felt once again that my actions were not wrong.”

Former female Self-Defense Forces member Rina Konoi (五ノ井里奈, 24), who reported sexual violence in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, received the “World’s Courageous Woman Award” awarded by the U.S. government on the 5th (local time).

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This award is given annually in advance of International Women’s Day (March 8) by the U.S. State Department to those who have contributed to improving the status of women around the world. The State Department stated the reason for its selection, saying, “It complained about victims of sexual violence in the Self-Defense Forces and shed light on an issue that is taboo in Japanese society.”

He attended the awards ceremony wearing a judo uniform with the Japanese flag on his left chest and received a plaque. The awards ceremony was attended by Jill Biden, wife of U.S. President Joe Biden, and U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken. “The women on this stage refused to be silenced and spoke out for themselves and for all, even in the face of fear and danger,” Mrs. Biden said.

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Mr. Konoi reported that he had been the victim of sexual violence several times by male colleagues in the Self-Defense Forces between 2020 and 2021. When the prosecution did not indict him, he exposed it on YouTube and received global attention, receiving 130,000 signatures. After a subsequent reinvestigation, the indicted male members were found guilty, and Japan’s Ministry of Defense officially apologized.

Regarding the reason he attended wearing a judo uniform, he said, “I have been practicing judo since I was young, and my body and mind have become stronger. “He was sexually assaulted, but was able to get back on his feet thanks to guidance,” he said. Having started his second life as a judo instructor, he is training with the goal of competing in the Japan Judo Championships in August.

This year’s Women’s Award was awarded to 12 people, including human rights activist Fariba Baluch, Afghanistan’s disabled human rights activist Benafsha Yaqubi, and African female genital mutilation abolition activist Fatu Balde.

Tokyo =

Source: Donga

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