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Third of Japanese Working Women Report Harassment


A woman waits to board a passenger train car for women only in Tokyo October 2011. The East Japan Railway company and other railway companies, introduced the 'women only' train cars in 2002 as part of efforts to deal with the problem men who sexually harass female passengers. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A woman waits to board a passenger train car for women only in Tokyo October 2011. The East Japan Railway company and other railway companies, introduced the 'women only' train cars in 2002 as part of efforts to deal with the problem men who sexually harass female passengers. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao


A Japanese government study reports almost one-third of women say they have been sexually harassed at work.

The women said they had suffered from unwanted physical contact, insulting comments and other harassment.

It is the first government study of the sexual harassment of Japanese women at work. It was released Tuesday.

Researchers said more than 9,600 women employees answered questions by mail or online. They said 18 percent of the women who were asked to take part in the study agreed to do so.

  • 29 percent of those who answered said they suffered sexual harassment at work.
  • 54 percent of that group said their face, body or age was discussed.
  • 40 percent said they suffered unwanted touching.
  • 38 percent were asked sexually related questions.
  • 27 percent were asked to eat a meal together or go on a date.

Researchers said they also reported receiving many complaints from pregnant women who said they were bullied into quitting their jobs.

In many Japanese companies, women and men are treated differently. Gender roles remain traditional in Japan, observers say.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Associated Press business writer Yuri Kageyama reported on this story from Tokyo. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

harassment – n. the annoying or bothering (of someone) in a constant or repeated way

date – n. an occasion when two people who have or might have a romantic relationship do an activity together

bully – v. to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force (usually + into)

gender – n. the state of being male or female

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