MIE (TR) – Mie Prefectural Police on Thursday arrested a 51-year-old man who allegedly molested a woman during what he claimed was a religious ceremony in Matsuzaka City, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Nov. 13).
On November 4 at 7:15 a.m., Toshifumi Oda fondled the chest of a woman in her 30s while attired in a shishimai, or lion dance, costume at the entrance of her home.
Oda, who is a resident of Shizuoka Prefecture, performed a ceremonial dance for the woman in what he said was an “exorcism.” At the climax of the performance, the suspect committed the alleged crime.
Oda, who has been charged with indecent assault, admits to the allegations. “Some people (wearing the costume) visit shops or the homes of individuals to perform an exorcism in return for money,” the suspect is quoted by police. “I thought I could do it to molest young women.”
After the incident, the victim consulted with police. On November 12, a police officer stopped Oda as he walked through Ise City while carrying the costume, which includes a decorative head piece and a cape. After questioning, he admitted to participating in the crime.
According to the Mainichi Shimbun (Nov. 12), police are investigating whether the suspect committed any other crimes with the costume.