Rakuten #2 exec quits prior to release of article detailing adultery

Shukan Shincho May 1
Shukan Shincho May 1

TOKYO (TR) – Rakuten executive Atsushi Kunishige resigned last week due to “personal matters” just days before the publication of an article that chronicled an extended love affair with a married woman, reports Nikkan Gendai (Apr. 24).

For the past year, Kunishige, a married 68-year-old former vice president of the online shopping mall, allegedly engaged in an extramarital affair with a housewife that resulted in her pregnancy, according to an article appearing inside the May 1 edition of the tabloid, which hit newsstands last Thursday.

Before his resignation on Tuesday, Kunishige, who headed the credit and mergers-and-acquisitions divisions, was the number-two ranking member of the company.

The woman, 43, who was not named in the article, reportedly leaked details of her relationship with the former vice president to the magazine. She supplied emails from Kunishige and photographs.

In some of the messages, Kunishige mentions meeting the woman at his apartment in Akasaka and the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku.

In an image included in the article, Kunishige is seen embracing and kissing the woman atop a bed while unclothed. He confirmed the authenticity of the photo but denied its significance.

“Without penetration, is that adultery?” Kunishige is quoted.

In November, Kunishige reportedly became violent with the woman after she learned he was involved in another affair, upon which time the 43-year-old severed their relationship. But after he apologized, the relationship continued, the article said. She subsequently became pregnant, but due to the accumulated stress she suffered a miscarriage.

When contacted by the magazine about Kunishige’s reason for leaving the company, Rakuten refused to comment.

The woman who provided the magazine with the information is planning a lawsuit against Kunishige.

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