Tatsuya Hashimoto, the 63-year-old mayor of Awara city in Fukui Prefecture, who has been accused of sexually harassing a married woman, including kissing, hugging and licking her toes, said Monday that he plans on suing the woman and her husband over attempted extortion, local media reported.
Hashimoto revealed his intention at a press conference at Awara City Hall.
According to sources, Hashimoto plans on filing a suit against the woman and her husband in response to the couple’s request for financial compensation for Hashimoto’s alleged sexual assault which partially took place in his office at City Hall in 2013.
Hashimoto first met the woman at an event organized by the city in March 2013. He reportedly kissed her on their way back from the event, while the two were sharing a car. A few months later, Hashimoto invited the woman to meet him in his office, where he repeatedly embraced and kissed her lips and feet, and licked her toes, Japanese media reported.
The woman told her husband what happened and in August, the couple reportedly met with the mayor in person and requested 50 million yen from him in compensation for his actions. The couple are said to have also told Hashimoto that if he didn’t pay, they would leak the case to the media. Hashimoto never paid the money.
The case came to light earlier this month when Hashimoto held a press conference on December 12 during which he admitted to all the accusations against him, but stated that he believed the city hall affair had been consensual.
“There is no excuse for my actions,” Hashimoto told reporters. “There were inappropriate actions on my side and some of these actions took place at City Hall. I deeply regret (these actions) and profoundly apologize.
"I had the feeling that she liked me,” he added.
Despite apologizing to the public and the woman in person and after having sent a handwritten letter to her, the mayor continues to insist that he believes that he never acted against the woman’s will.
“I am still embarrassed; it was a frivolous act. But I thought it was consensual,” the mayor told Fukui Shimbun.
The woman told Fukui Shimbun on Dec 14 she never gave her consent to the mayor and that she was “never fond of him.”© Japan Today