A senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official is alleged to have sexually harassed a woman, government sources said Tuesday, in what would be yet another revelation of inappropriate behavior in the country’s bureaucracy.
The ministry said it took disciplinary action against Tadaatsu Mori, director of the Russian division, for undermining trust as a government official. It did not disclose why it suspended Mori, 49, from work from Monday for nine months.
The sources said the woman consulted the ministry about the matter. Mori had not shown up for work since Friday afternoon.
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
“It’s regrettable that an incident like this happened at the ministry,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters. But he did not disclose further information to protect the privacy of the person affected.
Kono denied that the ministry’s decision to reprimand Mori will affect the country’s diplomatic activity.
Mori was involved in negotiations to secure the return of disputed islands off Hokkaido that have been controlled by Moscow and claimed by Tokyo. In May, he accompanied Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his trip to Russia.
The latest allegation surfaced after the top bureaucrat at the Finance Ministry came under fire for having allegedly sexually harassed a female reporter. Junichi Fukuda, who denied the allegation, stepped down as vice finance minister in April.
The case put the spotlight on how women are treated in workplaces in Japan and prompted women to take to the streets, particularly over Finance Minister Taro Aso’s remarks taken as making light of the sexual harassment allegation against his subordinate Fukuda.