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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 18 - 24  > Opposition party lawmakers demand full probe into alleged sexual harassment by top bureaucrat
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2018 April 18 - 24 [POLITICS]

Opposition party lawmakers demand full probe into alleged sexual harassment by top bureaucrat

April 18, 2018
Suprapartisan opposition party lawmakers on April 17 at a press conference criticized the government’s handling of an allegation of sexual harassment by a top Finance Ministry official as inappropriate, demanding thorough investigations into the matter.

A weekly magazine last week reported that Finance Ministry Administrative Vice Minister Fukuda Jun’ichi had sexually harassed female reporters.

The Finance Ministry on April 16 announced the results of a hearing in which Fukuda claims that the report is not true. The ministry called on female reporters of the news media to “cooperate” in the investigation into the allegation.

At the press conference held in the Diet building by the opposition party lawmakers, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Hatano Kimie said that although the Prime Minister’s Office had been informed of the Finance Ministry’s problematic response to the matter before the announcement, the office did not put a stop to the ministry, which means that the entire government is to be blamed.

Hatano noted that Fukuda in the ministry’s hearing described his alleged act of “sexual harassment” as “a play of words”. She pointed out that by saying this, Fukuda effectively admitted that he routinely makes sexually inappropriate remarks.

Upper House member Itokazu Keiko, who is a member of the parliamentary group “Okinawa Whirlwind”, criticized the government, saying, “The Abe government claims that it is working to empower women, but in reality, it is reluctant to address let alone eliminate sexual harassment.”

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan member of the House of Councilors Sugio Hideya said that the latest allegation indicates that making erotic remarks to female reporters is regarded as acceptable among Finance Ministry bureaucrats.

On the same day, Diet affairs committee chiefs of six opposition parties held a meeting. The six parties agreed that the sexual harassment allegation and the Finance Ministry’s handling of the issue are problematic and that the six opposition parties will work to hold Finance Minister Aso Taro responsible for the matter.
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