Veteran Japanese Newscaster Axed Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

Tokyo - Getty H 2016
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Junichi Tosaka is alleged to have kissed and groped a fellow newscaster at a work party in June 2011.

Veteran Japanese newscaster Junichi Tosaka has been axed from Fuji TV’s Prime News program after allegations of sexual assault surfaced involving a fellow newscaster at his previous employer, public broadcaster NHK.

Tosaka, 46, is alleged to have invited a female colleague to leave a party with him, following a work event in Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido in June 2011. When the woman, then a new host for NHK, attempted to escape to the toilet, Tosaka reportedly followed her, kissing and groping her, ignoring her protestations.

After the victim reported the incident to management, Tosaka was given an official warning by NHK.

Commentators in local media have suggested that Tosaka’s behavior and reputation for harassing women was an open industry secret and questioned whether it was possible that nobody at Fuji TV had heard the allegations. Tosaka worked at NHK for 20 years before resigning recently to go freelance.

The story was broken in the Jan. 25 edition of weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun, known for its scoops on the misdeeds of celebrities, business people and politicians.

The Harvey Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement have received a lot of media attention in Japan, though few female celebrities have come forward with stories of harassment despite a widely recognized sexist corporate culture in the country.

Tosaka was due to begin work on the nightly early evening program Prime News in April.