TOKYO- Japan’s vice finance minister denied sexual misconduct allegations against him on Thursday and has challenged a TV station’s report that its employee was thr victim.
Junichi Fukuda resigned on Wednesday, say it become difficult carrying out his duties amidst increasing criticism and scrutiny on him since the allegations surfaced a week ago.
He has flatly denied making sexually suggestive remarks after TV Asahi identified the victim was one of it’s female employees.
The Weekly Shincho magazine did a exposé that sexually suggestive remarks made allegedly by Fukuda to an unidentified female reporter in her 30s.
The magazine then published parts of what appears to be audio recording of Fukuda’s remarks. The report also claims he constantly made similar comments to female reporters in private conversations.
Fukuda responded on Thursday and told reporters that his comments were taken out of context, he said, “You should be able to tell it’s not sexual harassment if you examine the whole (conversation),”
Fukuda added, “not aware of making any remark that could be taken as sexual harassment”.
The alleged conversation, allegedly Fukuda says “I want to kiss you” and repeatedly asks questions such as, “Can I touch your breasts?” and “Can I tie your hands?”
The magazine has strongly defended its reporting, including releasing a follow-up story on Thursday that detailed Fukuda’s alleged shocking talk, but without identifying the victim.
Fukuda’s case is the latest embarrassment for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s embattled government that has failed dismissal to tackle the crisis bit administration.
The Finance Ministry response triggered outrage after its insensitive crisis management after it urged the alleged victim to come forward and report to a panel of ministry-commissioned lawyers so they can hear both sides and determine whether there was sexual misconduct.
Photo Credit- NewIndianExpress