Japanese society in general has recently supported policies against sexual harassment. Many hospitals have introduced local committees for preventing or managing this issue and physicians may have been introduced to more appropriate behaviors about sexual harassment. We conducted longitudinal surveys for Japanese physicians using clinical scenarios about challenges to professionalism, including sexual harassment with multiple choice responses.  The proportions of acceptable response to the harassment scenario was lower than those of other issues such as conflict of interest and confidentiality. The acceptable response to the harassment scenario in 2013 survey became also lower compared to that in a 2005 survey. Sexual harassment policy of Japanese teaching hospitals needs to be widely circulated and discussed and reporting procedures and counseling for victims and witnesses should be provided. Especially Japanese men physicians need to be educated for empathy and shared decision-making, which is important for caring patients as well as for communicating with women physicians.
Yasuharu Tokuda, MD, MPH, PhD, FACP
Okinawa Muribushi project for teaching hospitals
3-42-8-901 Iso, Urasoe City, Okinawa 901, Japan
1: Kinoshita K, Tsugawa Y, Barnett PB, Tokuda Y. Challenging cases of professionalism in Japan: improvement in understanding of professional behaviors among Japanese residents between 2005 and 2013. BMC Med Educ. 2015 Mar 11;15:42.