Japan’s most senior finance ministry bureaucrat has resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct, in what is being described as the country’s #MeToo moment. Junichi Fukuda, the vice minister of finance, said he would quit after a weekly magazine published allegations he had sexually harassed a female reporter.
Fukuda’s resignation will come as a further embarrassment to the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who is struggling to contain a cronyism scandal that centres on finance ministry officials. Fukuda has denied allegations carried in last week’s Weekly Shincho magazine that he sexually harassed a reporter in a bar.
The magazine, which also released an audio clip of the incident, claimed he told the journalist he wanted to kiss her. “I’ll tie up your hands. Can I touch your breasts?” a voice allegedly belonging to Fukuda is heard saying on the recording. “Shall we have an affair once the budget is approved?” The magazine alleged Fukuda made similarly inappropriate remarks to other female journalists covering the ministry.
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