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Mayor in western Tokyo quits over sexual harassment allegations

The mayor of the city of Komae in western Tokyo resigned on Monday, after months of being under fire over sexual harassment allegations.

Mayor Kunihiko Takahashi, 66, tendered his letter of resignation to the assembly chair on Friday, citing personal reasons, and it was accepted by the city assembly.

(Takahashi (R) receives a letter from a municipal assembly member on March 12 demanding that an investigation into the allegations against him be carried out)

He did not participate in the assembly session on Monday but instead issued a statement saying, “I apologize to the employees who interpreted (my actions) as harassment.” He also offered an apology to the public for disrupting the work of the city government.

Takahashi, who had repeatedly denied the allegations, expressed in late May his intention to step down after a protest letter was submitted to the city by four female employees of the municipal government claiming they had been sexually harassed by him.

The letter had specified the names of the four women.

Since the allegations surfaced in March, the mayor had been urged to resign, even by his deputy.

The deputy mayor, Minoru Mizuno, held a press conference in May, saying the city had confirmed two cases of sexual harassment by the mayor in an internal investigation.

Mizuno, who will act as mayor until Takahashi’s successor is elected, apologized before the city assembly on Monday and vowed to restore the trust lost over the actions by Takahashi.

Takahashi was first elected in June 2012 and was serving his second term.

He had been under fire after the Japanese Communist Party obtained an internal document of the municipal government showing several female employees had reported being sexually harassed by him.

One of the women complained that he touched her buttocks in an elevator, while another said he forced her to drink from a glass he had already used.

All – Kyodo News+

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