TOKYO (TR) – For renowned photojournalist Ryuichi Hirokawa, the allegations of sexual misconduct continue to pile up, with another woman coming forward this week to claim she was raped by him.
Late last year, seven women told weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun that Hirokawa, 75, demanded sex, nude photo sessions and other illicit deeds while they were employed under him at the photojournalism magazine Days Japan, which he founded in 2004.
“I sincerely apologize to the people who were to hurt,” Hirokawa wrote in the February issue of Days Japan, which will be the last for the publication, regarding the claims of the seven women.
The latest allegations, also appearing in Bunshun (Feb. 7), come from a woman in her 30s. In the article, she says that she met the photojournalist after a lecture gave on discrimination against women at a university in the fall of 2000. Afterward, she met him and began working at his office part-time.
The incident took place when they later traveled together overseas to conduct interviews. For the trip, Hirokawa failed to provide her with her own hotel room. He told her that male staff members connected to an interviewee wanted to have sex with her.
“It’s because you are a foreigner to them,” he reportedly told her. “What do you want to do? Do you want to have sex with them? Or will it be with me alone?”
After she chose Hirokawa, he proceeded to sexually assault her, according to Bunshun. “He raped me every night for two weeks,” she told the magazine. “I couldn’t run away. I didn’t know anything about the country, and I didn’t have anyone to ask for help. I had no choice but to do what he said.”
Over a six-day period, Bunshun attempted to contact Hirokawa and his lawyer by telephone and email regarding the latest claims. However, the photojournalist did not respond.
War-torn regions around the globe
Hirokawa is known for documenting the nuclear meltdowns in Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima Prefecture in 2011. Three years ago, he authored the book “Chernobyl and Fukushima,” which chronicles the victims of both disasters through photographs.
Prior to the halt in publication, Days Japan regularly featured photographs from war-torn regions across the globe, often highlighting the plight of refugees.
After the emergence of the sexual misconduct allegations last year, Hirokawa stepped down as representative director and board member of the parent company of the magazine.