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Japan ordered to pay damages for harassment at U.S. base

  • November 22, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 7:09 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Nov. 22 (Jiji Press)–Tokyo District Court ordered the Japanese government Monday to pay 550,000 yen in damages to a Japanese woman over so-called power harassment at a U.S. base in Japan.
   

According to the lawyer representing the woman, this is believed to be the first court decision that has recognized the power harassment of a Japanese national working at a U.S. military base in Japan and the responsibility of the Japanese government.
   

Presiding Judge Masahiro Miwa partially upheld the claims by the woman, who sought 39 million yen in damages for the workplace harassment by her former boss, a U.S. national, at the U.S. military’s Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo.
   

 

According to the ruling, she was scolded by her then supervisor between October and December 2013, when she was engaged in clerical work supporting U.S. military personnel at the base’s logistics support division at the base.
   

The boss told her that she was a liar, threatened to fire her and blasted her acts, the ruling said.
   

“This is a violation of personal rights based on superiority as a senior in the workplace,” Miwa said, recognizing the alleged power harassment.
   

She was diagnosed with adjustment disorder in February 2014.
   

The judge found that there was a causal relationship between her condition and the scolding.
   

“It is clear that the United States has failed to fulfill its duty to prevent power harassment,” Miwa said.
   

The judge concluded that the Japanese government is liable for compensation if the U.S. government was in breach of its duty, as Japan hired the woman to work for U.S. military personnel.
   

Still, Miwa denied a causal relationship between her resignation and the power harassment.
   

“It is significant that the court has recognized the power harassment at the U.S. military base and ordered the Japanese government to pay compensation,” said lawyer Haruhiko Ogawa, who represents the woman.
   

“But it is regrettable that the court did not find a causal relationship with her resignation,” he said. “We will consider filing an appeal.”
   

The Defense Ministry said that the court did not understand some claims by the government, adding that it will take appropriate action after careful consideration.

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