Japanese vice finance minister denies sexual harassment allegations amid calls for resignation

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 16, 2018

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at an upper house parliamentary session in Tokyo Thomson Reuters TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided that a top finance ministry bureaucrat accused of sexually harassing several female reporters must be fired, the daily Sankei newspaper reported on Monday.

The weekly Shukan Shincho reported last week that Administrative Vice Minister Junichi Fukuda repeatedly made remarks to several female reporters that could be taken as sexual harassment. The magazine quoted Fukuda as denying the allegations.

In an audio clip, thereafter, released on the magazine's website on Friday, Fukuda can allegedly be heard asking a female reporter in a bar or restaurant, "Can I give you a hug?" and "Can I touch your breasts?" He also said he is preparing to sue the magazine's publisher for defamation.

The Finance Ministry said it will commission a lawyer to continue its investigation into the matter so as to secure objectivity. However, both ruling and opposition lawmakers have called for Fukuda's resignation.

The ministry on Monday announced the results of its questioning of Fukuda and how the ministry plans to deal with the matter.

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