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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Japan rape victims 'asking for it'
Seiichi Ota (Credit: Mainichi Shimbun)
Only last week Seiichi Ota also had to apologise for remarks about rape
A senior Japanese minister has been criticised for allegedly suggesting that some women who are raped are "asking for it" by the way they dress.

According to an article in the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda made the controversial statement during an off-the-record discussion with reporters last Friday.

Mr Fukuda was quoted as saying: "There are women who look like they are saying 'Do it to me'.

"Those who have that kind of appearance are at fault, because men are black panthers," he reportedly said.

But when questioned about his comments on Wednesday, Mr Fukuda said it had never been his intention to defend rape, and accused the Shukan Bunshun of distorting the situation.

He told a parliamentary panel that rape was "a criminal act and an atrocious crime".

Mr Fukuda's alleged remarks come scarcely a week after another senior politician, ruling party lawmaker Seiichi Ota, was forced to apologise after saying that gang rapists were "vigorous" and "close to normal", and at least had a healthy attitude to sex.

Earlier this week former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori also had cause to regret his words, when he suggested that childless women should be denied pensions.

Mizuho Fukushima, Secretary General of the opposition Social Democratic Party, described Mr Fukuda's reported comments as "shameful".

"He has absolutely no understanding of equality between the sexes, or the fact that sexual violence is a breach of human rights," Ms Fukushima said.

Fury over Japan rape gaffe
27 Jun 03  |  Asia-Pacific

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