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Office sexual harassment recognized as cause of police agency officer's depression

TOKYO -- The National Police Agency (NPA) has revealed that one if its female superintendents fell into depression due to sexual harassment by a male colleague, and recognized her condition as damage incurred in the line of duty.

The superintendent in her 40s is already suing her former coworker in the Tokyo District Court for 5.5 million yen in damages, and details of the harassment and the harm she sustained are part of the court record. However, the defendant and his lawyer have indicated they intend to fight the accusations.

According to internal NPA documents submitted by the woman to the court and other information sources, she was transferred to the agency from a prefectural police force in western Japan's Kansai region in 2014, and was stationed in the same workplace as the defendant. She reported that the man was sexually harassing her to her boss in January 2015. The NPA launched an investigation, and in March 2017 the agency concluded that the woman's unhealthy psychological condition had been caused by the harassment.

The female superintendent and her suspected harasser no longer work in the same place.

According to the lawsuit filing, the male superintendent attached the diminutive "-chan" suffix to the woman's name and ordered her to "act like a woman." Furthermore, the man is alleged to have repeatedly used lewd language to her both at the office and at drinking parties. The plaintiff began to get headaches and other symptoms so severe that she had to take time off work intermittently from March through May 2015.

The defense has stated that the man "never used sexually harassing or discriminatory language. No one nearby at drinking parties or anywhere else has ever witnessed such an incident."

(Japanese original by Akira Hattori and Toshiaki Uchihashi, City News Department)

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