Japan Air Self-Defense Force member files lawsuit over sexual harassment

A member of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force has sued the state, alleging that the SDF failed to properly address her complaints that she was sexually harassed by a male colleague.

The female member filed the lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court. She is seeking more than 11 million yen, or about 80,000 dollars, in compensation for mental suffering.

Her lawyers say the male member repeatedly made sexually suggestive remarks, including making fun of her physical characteristics, from 2010 to 2013 when she was serving at Naha Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.

The lawyers say the SDF failed to take proper corrective measures.

The plaintiff says she suffered mentally as she was forced to share a workplace with the man for a total of five years after she made the complaints. She said her case was used in a sexual harassment education seminar on the base, and her name was disclosed.

Her lawyer said at a news conference that the lawsuit will stress the seriousness of secondary damage resulting from sexual harassment.

The lawyer expressed the intention of pursuing the "organizational responsibility" of harassment as an issue for Japanese society as a whole, not just in the SDF.

The Defense Ministry says it will discuss the matter with relevant bodies and address it appropriately after receiving the complaint.