TOKYO (TR) – TV Asahi on Thursday admitted to quashing claims of sexual harassment that led to the resignation of the top bureaucrat at the Ministry of Finance the day before, local media reported.
At a press conference held just past 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Junichi Fukuda, 58, told reporters that the allegations of sexual harassment appearing in the April 19 issue of Shukan Shincho were not true. He added, however, that the development has made it too challenging for him to continuing as head of the ministry.
Early the next morning, TV Asahi said that one of its female reporters provided a recording to Shincho that purports to include Fukuda sexually harassing her. According to the broadcaster, the woman made the recording while conducting interviews with the bureaucrat on multiple occasions about 18 months ago.
However, when the woman later presented the recording to her superior as evidence of sexual harassment, she was rebuffed, with her superior indicating that the matter was “too difficult” to pursue. The woman then supplied the information to Shincho, according to the broadcaster.
“Despite having information regarding sexual harassment from an employee, we were unable to respond properly,” said Hiroshi Shinozuka, TV Asahi’s news division general manager. “We are deeply sorry about that fact.”
Shinosuka added that the employee expressed regret over Fukuda’s denial of the alleged harassment. “I hope that the Ministry of Finance will continue its investigating and clarify the facts in the future,” she said, according to Shinozuka.
The company plans to lodge a formal complaint with the ministry over Fukuda’s alleged harassment.