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Ex-NHK reporter accused of rape pursued female colleague

Flash Feb. 28
Flash Feb. 28

“After I saw that he was arrested, I seriously thought it was good thing that I didn’t make an introduction for him.”

The above quotation is from the manager of a bar in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture frequented by Yasutaka Tsurumoto, an accused rapist who used to work as a reporter for public broadcaster NHK.

According to weekly tabloid Flash (Feb. 28), Tsurumoto was a well-known predator who repeatedly targeted women, including one particular female colleague at the broadcaster.

On February 6, police arrested Tsurumoto, a 28-year-old former reporter for an affiliate of NHK’s Yamagata Broadcasting Station in Sakata City, in the alleged rape of a woman, aged in her 20s, inside her residence in the Murayama locality of Yamagata about one year ago. The victim suffered injuries that required two weeks to heal.

“Since he was an NHK reporter, the investigation was conducted with care,” an investigative source tells the magazine. “Several house keys and female undergarments were found in his home. We are proceeding with the investigation assuming that a considerable number of additional charges will be added.”

Police have also linked Tsurumoto to a series of similar incidents of sexual assault that took place in 2013 and 2014 in Yamanashi. The results of DNA analyses of hair and other items left at those crime scenes proved to be a match for the suspect.

“Too self-oriented”

The aforementioned bar proprietor recalls Tsurumoto as quite the wolf. “‘Are there any women here?’ he asked. When I said not now, he requested an introduction. He said he likes ‘gentle’ types of girls,” she said.

After graduating from Waseda University in 2011, Tsurumoto joined the public broadcaster in Kofu City, Yamanashi. In July of 2015, the suspect was transferred to the Yamagata Broadcasting Station. He moved to the affiliate in Sakata last year.

A college acquaintance tells the magazine that the suspect always has targeted girls with a passion. “But he is so childish about it,” the friend says. “He’s too self-oriented to get to a woman’s heart.”

Yasutaka Tsurumoto
Yasutaka Tsurumoto, a former reporter for NHK

A local news reporter says that Tsurumoto began cruising for women each night in business districts in Yamagata after arriving from Yamanashi. “Writing his [chat app] Line ID number on his business card and passing it out was how he operated,” the reporter says.

Chased women in same industry

In both Yamanashi and Yamagata, he garnered a reputation for chasing women in the same industry, including one particular co-worker at the Yamagata Broadcasting Station. At a drinking party, he tried and failed to get her number, an NHK insider reveals. “But since they were in the same division, he managed to later get it,” says the insider. “He sent her a message about wanting to go drinking again. Of course, they never became an item.”

In April of last year, the female reporter became a host on “Yamamori,” a program that runs each weekday starting at 11:50 a.m. When approached by the magazine after shooting the program on a recent day, she declined to speak about the case and suggested contacting NHK’s public relations department.

NHK terminated Tsurumoto on February 16. A spokesperson at the public relations department told the magazine that “out of privacy concerns it would refrain from commenting.”

Source: “NHK gokan kisha ni nerawa reta doryo joshi-ana!” Flash (Feb. 28)