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How common is harassment in Japan?


Harassment is a global issue that affects millions of people every day. In Japan, it is a significant problem that has been addressed by the government and various organizations. This article will explore how common harassment is in Japan and what measures have been taken to combat it.

Types of Harassment in Japan

Harassment in Japan can take many forms, including sexual harassment, power harassment, bullying, and hate speech. Sexual harassment is a major problem in Japan’s workplaces, where women are often subjected to unwanted advances and discrimination. Power harassment is also prevalent, with senior employees using their position to intimidate and bully their subordinates.

Japanese Snack Box

Statistics on Harassment in Japan

According to a survey conducted by the Japanese government, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Another survey found that 60% of women had experienced some form of sexual harassment in public spaces. These statistics suggest that harassment is a widespread issue that affects many people in Japan.

Cultural Factors Contributing to Harassment

Japan’s hierarchical culture and emphasis on group harmony can contribute to harassment, as individuals may be hesitant to speak out against their superiors or peers. Additionally, traditional gender roles and attitudes towards women can lead to discrimination and harassment.

Legal Measures Against Harassment

The Japanese government has implemented several laws aimed at combating harassment, including the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace and the Act on Prevention of Spousal Violence and Protection of Victims. These laws provide legal protection for victims of harassment and promote gender equality in the workplace.

Organizational Measures Against Harassment

Many companies and organizations have implemented their own measures to prevent harassment, such as establishing hotlines for reporting incidents and conducting training programs for employees. However, there have been criticisms that these measures are not always effective, and more needs to be done.

Media Coverage of Harassment

Harassment has received increased media coverage in recent years, with high-profile cases bringing attention to the issue. The #MeToo movement has also gained traction in Japan, with women sharing their experiences of sexual harassment on social media.

The Role of Education

Education plays a crucial role in preventing harassment, and many schools have implemented programs aimed at promoting respect for diversity and preventing bullying. However, there is still room for improvement, with some critics arguing that schools need to do more to address the issue.

Efforts by Civil Society Organizations

Numerous civil society organizations in Japan are working to combat harassment through advocacy, support services for victims, and education programs. These groups play an important role in raising awareness about the issue and pushing for change.

The Impact of Harassment on Victims

Harassment can have significant negative effects on victims’ mental health, self-esteem, and job performance. It can also lead to physical harm and even death in extreme cases. It is important for society to recognize the seriousness of this issue and work towards creating safe environments for everyone.


Harassment is a significant problem in Japan that affects many people every day. While progress has been made through legal measures, organizational policies, media coverage, education programs, and civil society initiatives, there is still much work to be done. It is crucial for individuals, organizations, and society as a whole to recognize the seriousness of this issue and take action to prevent it from occurring.

How bad is harassment in Japan?

According to a survey conducted by Asahi Shimbun in 2019, one quarter of first term municipal assembly members reported experiencing sexual harassment. A year later, the Cabinet Office conducted a survey of municipal councilors and found that almost 60 percent of women and 33 percent of men had experienced bullying.

Is harassment legal in Japan?

Harassment of a sexual nature is illegal in Japan and goes against the dignity of individuals. As an employee, it is your right to have a workplace that is free from any such inappropriate behavior.

How toxic is Japanese work culture?

The work culture in Japan has faced significant criticism for causing excessive stress and pressure on employees. The term “karoshi,” which means death from overwork, has existed since the 1970s.

Is it illegal to insult someone in Japan?

In Japan, insulting someone publicly without referring to a specific action is considered different from defamation, but both are punishable under the law. Currently, the punishment for insults is either detention for less than 30 days or a fine that does not exceed ¥10,000.

Is public affection frowned upon in Japan?

Regardless of your age, gender, or nationality, it’s important to adhere to the cultural norms in Japan when it comes to public displays of affection. Holding hands is generally acceptable, but in smaller towns, you may receive negative reactions if you have your arm around your partner. This applies to all visitors travelling in Japan.

Is it illegal to stalk someone in Japan?

The Act prohibits two types of behavior: pursuit and stalking. Pursuit refers to pressuring someone to go out with them or seeking revenge for being rejected, while stalking is a repeated pattern of behavior that makes the victim feel endangered.

One area that requires attention is the intersectionality of harassment. Women of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and individuals with disabilities are at a higher risk of experiencing harassment due to their marginalized identities. Therefore, it is important to approach harassment prevention through an intersectional lens and ensure that measures are in place to protect all individuals.

Moreover, the pandemic has brought new challenges to harassment prevention efforts. With remote work and online classes, there has been an increase in cyberbullying and harassment. It is important to adapt prevention measures to these new circumstances and ensure that individuals are safe both in physical and virtual environments.

Ultimately, combating harassment requires a collective effort from all members of society. It involves challenging harmful cultural attitudes, providing support for victims, holding perpetrators accountable, and creating safe spaces for everyone. By working together towards this goal, we can create a society where no one has to experience the pain and trauma of harassment.

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