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New plan requires Cabinet Office, ministry execs to attend anti-sexual harassment training

Internal affairs minister Seiko Noda (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The government's Headquarters for Creating a Society in which All Women Shine has drafted an urgent countermeasure plan against sexual harassment that requires executive officials of the Cabinet Office and each ministry to attend training sessions.

Due to alleged sexual harassment by ex-Vice Finance Minister Junichi Fukuda, Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment Seiko Noda and other ministers created the proposal. The executives would be effectively required to attend the session prior to gaining promotion.

The government plan expands eligibility for participating in the training session to division chiefs and those in higher positions, in addition to new personnel and supervisors.

Under the proposal, the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs will keep attendance records and will inform ministries that executive candidates will need to attend the training sessions.

It is also proposed that the Cabinet Office and each ministry will set up a counseling center where sexual harassment reports can be filed from outside sources. In case of inappropriate responses from the office, another independent consultation center will be considered. The plan also includes provision of training sessions for counselors at such offices and thorough measures for protecting the victims' privacy to prevent any secondary damage.

In light of the alleged sexual harassment of a female TV Asahi reporter by Fukuda, the plan proposes creating a better working environment for female reporters covering the Cabinet Office and ministries. The plan also calls for establishing communication channels with press clubs at each ministry and platforms for consultation with the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association and the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association.

(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Tanaka, Political News Department)

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