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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 July 30 - August 12  > Defense Academy student sues his upperclassmen for bullying
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2014 July 30 - August 12 [SDF]

Defense Academy student sues his upperclassmen for bullying

August 8, 2014
A 19-year-old male student at the National Defense Academy (NDA) filed a complaint on August 7 with the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office against eight upperclassmen for coercion and injurious assaults on him.

The NDA, located in Kanagawa’s Yokosuka City, is a college for training future officers in Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.

In May, when returning to his family home in Fukuoka Prefecture, the student carelessly forgot to turn in a leave application to the academy. After the college authorities warned him not to repeat the same mistake, upperclassmen violently assaulted him. In addition, they repeatedly forced him to clean the student dormitory.

The student developed depression and received counselling at the academy. The counsellor just said to him, “Hang on and bear it.”

Then he consulted a doctor at an SDF hospital in Fukuoka. The doctor wrote in a medical certificate that his mental disorder was caused by his concern over whether to resign, mentioning nothing about the violence he suffered.

Criminal acts have occurred one after another in the SDF, such as assaults, blackmail, and sexual harassment. Many of the victims were driven to resign or even to commit suicide.

Every time these serious issues came to light, the SDF worked to cover up the facts and harassed the accusers. Many of those who spearheaded the cover-ups are senior officers from the academy. This accusation revealed that violence is rife not only in the SDF but also in the NDA.

It was in the 1990s that bullying and acts of violence in the SDF began to attract public attention. That timing corresponds to when the government started to dispatch SDF troops abroad.

On July 1, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s government approved a decision to enable Japan to use the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the war-renouncing Constitution. The administration’s move to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation will inevitably prompt the SDF to tighten control over its members and thus encourage further encroachment on their human rights.

Past related article:
> Gov’t ordered to pay compensation for MSDF sailor’s suicide [April 24, 2014]
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