TOKYO (TR) – Renowned photojournalist Ryuichi Hirokawa on Wednesday issued an apology and stepped down as director of the influential magazine he founded following the emergence of sexual abuse allegations in a weekly magazine.
On the site of Days Japan, it was revealed that Hirokawa was dismissed as representative director and board member of the parent company of the magazine.
In Shukan Bunshun (Jan. 3-10), which hit newsstands on Wednesday, the magazine says Hirokawa demanded sex, nude photo sessions and other illicit deeds from seven women.
In one case, a woman working part-time at Days Japan was ordered by the photojournalist to come to a hotel room after she requested instruction on how to take better photographs. Upon her arrival, he allegedly engaged in sex with her. The woman claimed she was unable to fend off his sexual advances out of fear.
In the Bunshun article, Hirokawa denied the allegations. However, in apologizing on the magazine’s web site on Wednesday, he said that he had failed to grasp the suffering of the victims in responding to the magazine’s request for comment.
“Because of this failure, I would like to apologize from the bottom of my heart to those whom I have hurt,” Hirokawa wrote.
Hirokawa is known for documenting the nuclear meltdowns in Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima Prefecture in 2011. Two years ago, he authored the book “Chernobyl and Fukushima,” which chronicles the victims of both disasters through photographs.
In 2004, Hirokawa founded Days Japan, whose motto pronounces: “A single picture can move the nation.” The magazine regularly features photographs from war-torn regions across the globe, often highlighting the plight of refugees.