Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

One Woman's Brave Fight for Change, and to Prove No Really Did Mean No

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

One Woman's Brave Fight for Change, and to Prove No Really Did Mean No

Article excerpt

Byline: David Sexton The Viewer

Japan's Secret Shame BBC2, 9pm FROM where we sit, it's easy to assume that #MeToo has had a similar impact all around the developed world. Far from it. In Japan, the response to the Harvey Weinstein revelations last October was "muted", this documentary tells us.

"A lot of women here are, like: 'What? Groped? Not sexually assaulted? Not raped? You're upset about being groped, or having someone try to pressure you into having sex? Like, that's your level of outrage? That's nothing, that's our daily lives', " says crime reporter Jake Adelstein.

In fact, in Japan, #MeToo has been re-cast as #WeToo Japan, as a way of showing solidarity because it is so difficult for individual women in Japan to come forward and say #MeToo.

One who has had the courage to do just that is the journalist Shiori Ito and this moving, flowing documentary, directed by Erica Jenkin, tells her story, revealing how painful the consequences for her have been.

In 2015, Shiori, 25, met well-known TV foreign correspondent Noriyuki Yamaguchi, 48, at a restaurant in Tokyo, to discuss a possible internship. She remembers feeling dizzy, going to the bathroom, and nothing after. "I woke up with this intense pain the first thing maybe I say is itai, it hurts he didn't stop." She realised she was in a hotel room. "I was confused, I didn't know what had happened, how I got there." She tried to find her clothes but he pushed her on the bed again. "I tried to fight but he was quite strong. I wasn't able to get any air. He was on top of me and I couldn't breathe. I thought: 'This is it, I'm going to die here'."

She suspects she had been drugged but she has no proof. Yamaguchi maintains she was conscious and consenting. In Japan, the concept of consent remains elastic. "In Japan, no means yes," says a campaigner.

Yamaguchi says Shiori was drunk, as if that were justification enough. …

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