World News

Top Japanese finance official denies sexual harassment, vows to sue publisher

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s top finance bureaucrat denied on Monday a weekly magazine’s allegation that he had sexually harassed female reporters and vowed to file a lawsuit against its publisher for defamation, his ministry said in a statement.

The weekly Shincho magazine said in an issue published last Thursday that Administrative Vice Finance Minister Junichi Fukuda went drinking with a female reporter recently at a bar near his house and asked to touch her breasts and kiss her.

The ministry quoted Fukuda as saying he did not recall having the reported exchanges with the female reporter or having a meal with the reporter. He did not consider remarks he made to the reporter as constituting sexual harassment, the ministry said in the statement.

“I sincerely feel sorry for causing trouble to finance minister (Taro) Aso and ministry officials by inviting public distrust,” Fukuda was quoted as saying.

“Reflecting, I’ll fulfil my duty with a sense of urgency,” he added, indicating no sign of resignation.

Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Robert Birsel