It is an unfortunate reality that sexual crimes occur all over the world, no matter where you live or who you are. In Japan, where sexual crimes are seldom discussed openly, crime is perceived as far lower than other countries, and problematic biases in the legal system make it difficult for victims of such attacks to seek help, it can be even more difficult for people who cannot speak enough Japanese to obtain help on their own. Below I am providing a list of resources specific to sexual assault and crimes against women based on recent web searches and from the advice of colleagues. The US embassy also has more helpful information for victims of domestic abuse, which can be found here. It is also unfortunate that the majority of English-language services (particularly those you can go to in person) are limited to the Tokyo area, but there are hotlines and online options open to anyone listed as well.
I encourage everyone to take note of these resources and pass them along to those who have been or could potentially be affected by sexual violence, and please do add to this list any other services you know to be helpful.
Crisis/Counseling Centers and Hotlines
The Tokyo Rape Crisis Center provides telephone counseling to female victims of sexual violence. They provide medical and legal information to help victims figure out their next steps. Unfortunately, they have limited hours of availability for calls and English-language assistance is limited (but possible); they have an answering machine service if you cannot reach them directly at the time.
TELL: Tokyo English Life Line
TELL is a Tokyo-based non-profit that offers English-language counseling support, including confidential phone counseling for a variety of mental health services. They regularly deal with cases involving sexual assault, and offer face-to-face counseling options as well. They deal a wide variety of issues and can be contacted via their online form. They also have a counseling services directory that covers many different parts of Japan.
Sexual Assault Relief Centre (SARC)
The website is in Japanese only, but occasional English-language support is available. SARC can direct people to medical assistance, help with reporting, and connect people with legal specialists.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
RAINN offers a toll-free 24/7 hotline for sexual assault counseling and referrals: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). RAINN also offers a hotline that provides live, secure, anonymous crisis support for victims of sexual violence, their friends, and families over RAINN’s website. Their immediate services are not international, but the Online Hotline is free of charge and is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Counseling Center for Women
The Counseling Center for Women offers confidential multilingual support for women in Japan on a variety of personal issues. Tel: 050-1501-2803, Monday to Friday, 10:00 – 17:00
Women’s Hotline (counselling – legal and psychological support) [source]
Yokohama: English and Chinese: (04) 4271-0091
Every day (24 hours) Toll Free: 0120-46-1997
Consultation Service for Criminal Incidents Involving Foreigners [source]
Weekdays (9am-5pm) English, Japanese (& other languages): 0592-23-2030
Tokyo Crime Victim Hotline (by Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department – Japanese only) [source]
TEL: 03-3597-7830. Services available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. weekdays.
Emergency Interpretation Service (for Medical Institutions) [source]
Tokyo: Mon-Fri (5pm-10pm): (03) 5285-8185
AMDA: International Medical Information Center (Kanto) Tokyo
Everyday (9am-8pm) English (Thai, Chinese, Korean & Spanish): 03-5285-8088
AMDA: International Medical Information Center (Kansai) Osaka
Mon-Fri (10am-5pm) English (Chinese Spanish and Portuguese – call for availability): 050-3598-7574
Pathways to Safety International
Pathways to Safety International specializes in serving Americans experiencing interpersonal and gender based violence abroad. The offer services such as safety relocation, specialized international safety planning, referrals to seasoned international family law attorneys experienced with the Hague and international child custody cases, international transition services, and assistance with housing and other basic needs when a survivor has left their abuser, whether back in the United States or in another area of the world.
Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims
Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims is an NPO that works to eliminate the issue of human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, in Japan. Lighthouse aims to eliminate human trafficking in Japan by: providing confidential consultation services for survivors of human trafficking via a toll-free multilingual hotline, email, and LINE”; educating and training law enforcement and government officials to recognize human trafficking survivors and investigate cases; organizing awareness campaigns and seminars to help bring more attention to the issue of human trafficking and encourage change in society.
The general number for the Japanese police in case of an emergency is 110. The number for an ambulance is 119. To ask for an English speaker to assist you, you can say: “Eigo de onegai shimasu.”
The Tokyo English-speaking police can be reached by telephone at: 03-3501-0110
The US Embassy page on crime in Japan offers a number of links to help people call and report crimes. They give some specific instructions on how to call the police, fire department, etc. for specific and immediate emergencies.
The Embassy also maintains an informational page about crime proceedings in Japan. They also list many organizations that can assist foreigners with legal, medical and daily life issues. There is also a section for crime support for Okinawa residents at the bottom of the page that includes rape-specific needs.
The UK Embassy has created this resource for UK residents. It has a helpful guide on what steps one might go through when visiting the police or reporting a crime.
Survivors United is a resource that assists survivors of sexual assault by active duty service members or are loved ones of those impacted by sexual assault within the military. This group may be especially useful for those in Okinawa or on military bases in other locations in Japan. Facebook site (with contact information) can be found here.
The US Department of State incudes a page with contact information for you to contact your nearest embassy for assistance in the event that you have been a victim of a crime. They cannot investigate crimes, provide legal services, serve as interpreters, or pay any fees. But they can: replace a stolen passport; contact family, friends, or employers; obtain appropriate medical care; address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime; explain the local criminal justice process; obtain information about your case; connect you to local and U.S.-based resources to assist victims of crime; obtain information about any local and U.S. victim compensation programs available; and provide a list of local lawyers who speak English.
For US Army Japan residents, see the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) and hotline.
For list of major Japanese hospitals, see Japan Visitor‘s list.
For a list of international Japanese hospitals, see Japan Hospital Search for International Patients.
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