Posts Tagged ‘respect for women’

Japan’s Taro Aso: “There is no such thing as a sexual harassment charge.” But his deputy repeatedly made sexually suggestive comments to a TV reporter

May 8, 2018

Japan’s Finance Minister  Taro Aso says “There is no such thing as a sexual harassment charge.”

Image result for Finance Minister Taro Aso, photos

Finance Minister Taro Aso may not be smiling for too much longer….

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Finance Minister Taro Aso on Tuesday repeated a comment that appeared to downplay an incident of alleged sexual harassment by his ministry’s top bureaucrat after already sparking protest demonstrations in a number of Japanese cities the day before.

“There is no such thing as a sexual harassment charge,” the 77-year-old former prime minister said at a regular press conference, the same remark he made on Friday during a trip to Manila.

The comment, which appeared to make light of the claims that then-Vice Finance Minister Junichi Fukuda had repeatedly made sexually suggestive comments to a TV reporter, has drawn sharp reactions from women’s rights activists, with some calling it misogynistic and permissive of sexual harassment.

Asked by reporters about such public criticisms, Aso, who doubles as deputy prime minister, said he had “merely stated a fact” while adding he has no intention of tolerating sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment perpetrators can be charged with sexual assault, rape or libel in Japan.

Seiko Noda, a minister in charge of female empowerment, said Tuesday she plans to compile legal measures to tackle sexual harassment during the ongoing Diet session.

Noda, 57, who also serves as internal affairs minister, indicated Monday she would consider introducing penalties for sexual harassment.

She also said Aso belongs to a generation that has not learned about sexual harassment and has “a totally different perception” from that of her generation.

Following Aso’s initial comments, protestors, including many women’s rights groups, took to the streets on Monday. Some lined the sidewalk in front of the Finance Ministry building in central Tokyo, while others held demonstrations in Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Sapporo.

Fukuda stepped down in late April after a weekly magazine reported that he asked the reporter “Can I give you a hug?” and “Can I touch your breasts?” and released an audio clip.

The former top bureaucrat has denied the allegations although the ministry has acknowledged he sexually harassed the female reporter and reduced his retirement benefits.

Aso himself has faced growing calls from opposition lawmakers to resign for having chosen Fukuda for the position.

The close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has often made controversial comments.

In August, Aso came under fire for comments that seemed to defend Adolf Hitler’s motive behind the genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany.

“Hitler, who killed millions of people, is no good even if his motive was right,” he said. Aso later said he meant to give an example of a bad politician but retracted the remark.



Jordan scraps controversial rape law — allowed the rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim

August 1, 2017


© POOL/AFP/File | Activists applauded the Jordanian parliament’s abolition of a controversial law allowing a rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim

AMMAN (AFP) – Jordan’s parliament on Tuesday scrapped a controversial article in the penal code that allowed a rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim.

Activists had campaigned for years to abolish Article 308, which allowed rape charges to be dropped if the rapist married his victim and did not divorce her for five years.

The article was scrapped as parliament passed amendments to the penal law, the official Petra news agency reported.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Hani Mulqi threw his weight behind the move.

“The government is committed to eliminating Article 308 to reinforce the protection of the Jordanian family,” he said.

Human rights activists applauded parliament’s action.

“The removal of this article is a victory for all victims of rape,” said Eva Abu Halaweh, a lawyer and the head of law group Mizan.

It comes “after years of huge effort from civil society organisations”, she said.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, also welcomed the vote.

“BRAVO #JORDAN for repealing heinous article 308 absolving rapists who marry their victims. Urge #Arab states to follow. Women NOT property,” she tweeted.

Whitson earlier urged lawmakers to repeal the article, saying it had been “a blight on Jordan’s human rights record for decades”.

“The mere existence of article 308 puts pressure on women and girls to marry those who assault them, including teenage victims of rape,” she said.

Jordan registered more than 160 rape cases last year, according to official figures.

Last week, Tunisia also scrapped an article allowing rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victim when it passed a new law to end violence against women.

According to Human Rights Watch, countries in the region that retain similar provisions in their laws include Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya and Syria, as well as the Palestinian territories.