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Amid criticism, Japanese lawmaker explains why she hinted at DV shelter's location in video

This file photo shows House of Councillors member Yukiko Kada. (Mainichi/Yusuke Komatsu)

TOKYO -- A Japanese lawmaker has explained why she made comments in an April online video that allowed viewers to surmise the location of a shelter for domestic violence (DV) victims, writing on her website on May 12: "I have received comments suggesting that what I said lacked consideration."

    Yukiko Kada, 70, an independent member of the House of Councillors who also previously served as governor of Shiga Prefecture, made the original remarks in an April 21 online gathering. The locations of facilities for DV victims are generally not disclosed to protect people from perpetrators, but when the Mainichi Shimbun watched the video of the meeting it found that Kada mentioned DV shelters when speaking with participants.

    In it, she said: "In a sense it's hidden, but it's like an apartment that women can escape to," and then gave the name of the Shiga Prefecture municipality where the DV shelter is. She also made remarks that could allow people to guess the specific location.

    The gathering was accessible by advance registration, with supporters of the event's sponsor able to join. But it was also made public on a video sharing site where it could be freely seen by anyone. Kada's office said that the video had about 120 views from people other than those who applied to see it.

    According to the Shiga Prefectural Government, which oversees the shelter, it checked the video after being notified of it by an outside source on April 28. The prefectural government told Kada over the phone that the video was inappropriate and asked her to address it; it was subsequently deleted.

    The prefectural government's children and youth bureau said, "If its location is made public, perpetrators could go there and take back people sheltering there, or it could lead to an incident."

    In response to a Mainichi Shimbun inquiry, Kada's office said, "We will not be commenting." However, on May 12, Kada wrote on her website: "When I was recently consulted by a man suffering from domestic violence, I gave him advice on what to do because he was in great pain and seeking relief. In doing so, I have received comments suggesting that what I said lacked consideration. I take this very seriously."

    (Japanese original by Ran Kanno, Digital News Center)

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