Photo/IllutrationFrom left: Yukiko Tsunoda, Mami Nakano and Akira Minami, chairman of Shimbun Roren (Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Union), hold a news conference in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward on April 25. Tsunoda and Nakano are lawyers representing a reporter who said she was sexually assaulted by a senior Nagasaki city official. (Michiko Kawahara)

A reporter has sued the Nagasaki municipal government, saying she suffered mental anguish after being sexually assaulted by a senior city official and then blamed for his suicide.

The lawsuit filed at the Nagasaki District Court on April 25 seeks about 35 million yen ($313,405) in damages and an apology from the city.

The reporter said she developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the assault and her reputation was damaged after the city government mishandled her initial complaint.

Her lawyers also said the city’s actions violated press freedoms.

“This lawsuit is not about just one individual issue,” Mami Nakano, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers, said at a news conference in Tokyo on April 25. “It was filed in hopes of abolishing such sexual violence from the sites of media reporting activities.”

Other lawyers representing the reporter held a news conference in Nagasaki.

The city has declined to comment on the issue.

According to the lawsuit and other information, the reporter was sexually assaulted by a division manager when she was covering a peace ceremony in the atomic-bombed city in July 2007.

In the city’s investigation in October 2007, the manager admitted to having sexual contact with the reporter but said he thought there was “mutual consent.”

He later killed himself.

In response to a complaint from the reporter’s company, the city, citing the investigation report, said, “There was a problem, but we can’t make clear all the facts due to the death of the manager.”

The reporter was diagnosed as having PTSD and took a leave of absence from work.

A city executive said afterward that “the manager’s death was caused by the reporter.” That comment appeared in weekly magazines and other media, which led to further mental suffering for the reporter and continual hospital treatment, according to the lawsuit.

She sought help from the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, which called on Nagasaki city in 2014 to apologize to the journalist and take preventive measures against sexual misconduct.

“The city didn’t take all measures to prevent the secondary damage (caused by the executive’s comment),” the federation said.

However, the city has been reluctant to act on the recommendations, according to the lawsuit.

The reporter said she decided to seek legal action after another female journalist last year reported being sexually harassed by the administrative vice finance minister during a work-related interview.

“I knew what was happening to me, but I had thought that if I talked or wrote about it, the memories would cause me to collapse,” the plaintiff said in a statement.

She also wrote that she “had to completely leave the front lines” of reporting because of the incident, and that she is “still suffering” because of Nagasaki city’s unchanged stance, even after it received instructions from the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

Akira Minami, chairman of Shimbun Roren (Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Union), also attended the news conference in Tokyo.

Nagasaki city’s personnel division has not responded to inquiries from the media, citing privacy issues.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue released a statement on April 25 that said, “I will refrain from commenting because I have not received the complaint.”

In fiscal 2008, Nagasaki city expanded its anti-sexual harassment sessions to include supervisors, such as managers and assistant managers.

Until then, the sessions were held only for newly hired employees.