• The Financial District


While many female Japanese university students go abroad for what they will hope will be an enriching experience, many fall victim to sexual assault in a manner they never anticipated, Azusa Mishima wrote for the Asahi Shimbun late on August 11, 2020.

The perpetrator, in many cases, is a Japanese businessman stationed in the destination where the victim is studying. The disturbing trend is identified in a survey carried out by a group of victims and university students initiated by a 22-year-old senior student at a national university in Tokyo, who spent a year in a European country as a student until July. A Japanese man who worked for a major Japanese company raped her about four months into her study abroad.

With the help of fellow university students, she conducted an online survey of people who have studied abroad before. The survey was carried out between May and July, with 516 people responding with personal stories. About 80 percent of the respondents were female. A total of 157 people, mostly female, said they experienced sexual harassment and assaults while they studied abroad.

Many said the perpetrator was a Japanese expatriate, and that among them were individuals sent over by companies in Japan. Students were often sexually harassed verbally at dinner parties or while drinking alcohol. Sometimes students were forcibly brought into the perpetrator’s home. “The (perpetrator) was introduced to me as a ‘kind Japanese national’ so I could not disobey,” one victim said. “The person was in a superior position and I could not fight,” another said.

A total of 58 respondents said they were not victims of sexual assault themselves but had witnessed and heard about such incidents. The students who conducted the survey summarized the results and created “guidelines for students who study abroad on how to handle sexual assaults.”

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@2020 by The Financial District