Prosecutors to reopen investigation into alleged sexual abuse in GSDF

Japanese prosecutors are set to reopen an investigation into a case of alleged sexual abuse in the Ground Self-Defense Force.

The move comes after a prosecution inquest panel determined that prosecutors' decision not to indict three GSDF members over the allegation was unjust.

The panel, which consists of randomly selected citizens in Fukushima Prefecture, announced its decision on Monday.

In the case, former GSDF member Gonoi Rina accused three colleagues of sexually asaulting her in August 2021. She worked at GSDF Camp Koriyama in the prefecture at that time.

Gonoi said the three men, including one of her bosses, pushed her down on a bed and touched her body.

She reported the case to a GSDF police unit, which referred the three to prosecutors on suspicion of indecent assault. The prosecutors decided in May not to indict them.

The inquest panel says the prosecutors need to carefully examine the reliability of the victim's accounts, which are the sole evidence, if they should reject them. But the panel says a close review of the records led it to conclude it was hard to say that the case had been thoroughly investigated.

The panel's decision means prosecutors will look into the case again to determine anew whether to indict the three men.

Gonoi says she was sexually abused on several other occasions. The Defense Ministry is carrying out a special investigation.

Gonoi has called for a swift investigation. She says she wants those involved to be punished and to apologize.