During a demonstration of the feminist movement

The agitating Kusatsu assault case illustrates Japan’s negligence in dealing with sex crimes. Friday, December 11, activists of the Flower Demo movement against sexual violence made the trip to the town of 6,200 inhabitants of the department of Gunma, famous for its hot springs, 150 km to the northwest. of Tokyo, to denounce the ” abuse of power ” and the ” sexual harassment “ of the mayor, Nobutada Kuroiwa. They also expressed their support for Shoko Arai, expelled from the city council for accusing the councilor of sexual assault.

The exclusion was decided in a referendum on December 6. Ninety percent of voters supported the dismissal of the city councilor, after a campaign led by a large number of posters and distribution of leaflets accusing Mme Arai of “Harm the image of the city”.

The only female council member, Shoko Arai, 51, has pledged to continue her political activities and has started a petition for “A democratic renewal in Kusatsu” – 15,100 people signed it on December 12.

A referendum with the result decided in advance

In a text published in November 2019, Mme Arai accused the mayor of sexually assaulting her in his office in 2015. Mr. Kuroiwa, 73, “Suddenly pulled me towards him, kissed me and pinned me to the ground”, she wrote, adding that she “Could not push him away”.

Nobutada Kuroiwa immediately protested, claiming that the door and curtains to his office were open on the said day. He filed a defamation complaint and in December 2019 organized a city council vote to exclude Mr.me Arai, who would have “Damaged the reputation of the mayor” and “To the dignity of the council”. He obtained the resignation of the only elected official supporting Mme Arai.

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Seized by the latter, the council of the department of Gunma deemed the exclusion procedure illegal, and the elected representative returned to her post. Hence the referendum to the result decided in advance, according to Mme Arai. “This is a dictatorial move, not only because the mayor and councilors are in charge, but also because most of them are local business leaders, hoteliers and employers, which means that the inhabitants are doubly under pressure ”, she wrote in the press release accompanying the petition.

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