A Japanese woman who exposed the culture of sexual abuse within her country's armed forces said Tuesday she will continue to speak out for victims as she attended a New York event for Time magazine's 100 emerging world leaders of 2023.

Rina Gonoi, a former member of the Ground Self-Defense Force, told reporters before the event that she was glad to hear Time recognized that her activities have heartened others who have experienced similar abuse.

Rina Gonoi, clad in a judo outfit, attends an event in New York on Oct. 24, 2023, to mark her selection by Time magazine as one of this year's 100 emerging world leaders. (Photo courtesy of Asuka Iwashita)(Kyodo) 

"I'll keep speaking out for somebody," she said, adding, "I will keep saying what is wrong is wrong."

Gonoi, 24, came forward last year after being sexually harassed in the GSDF. In the assault, her assailants used judo techniques to physically restrain her.

Wearing a judo outfit at the Time event, Gonoi said the sport helped her gain "the strength to stand up even when my heart felt like it was going to break."

Her claims led the Defense Ministry to dismiss five male members and increase its efforts to address harassment.

She left the force in June 2022 and launched a campaign to raise awareness about the kind of harassment she endured while serving.

She also filed a damages suit in January against the sacked GSDF members and the Japanese government, alleging the men caused her mental distress while the state failed to prevent the abuse and failed to investigate her claims.


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