Japan: Top cop gives reporter wrong sort of hot tip

Ryann Connell

A police officer once penciled in for prominence in crime fighting now seems to have placed himself on the wrong side of the law enforcement business after copping a feel of a young female reporter chasing a hot story, according to Shukan Shincho.

The 38-year-old assistant superintendent from the Nagasaki Prefectural Police is accused of ordering the young TV journalist to sit on his lap and let him feel her up in exchange for a tip-off that could give her a huge scoop.

But the reporter was no shrinking violet and earlier this month threatened the force with legal action if the officer is not punished quickly and an apology soon forthcoming.

In Japan, it's not uncommon for reporters to head out to the private homes of law enforcers for a chat that could give them a top story. It was on just such an occasion in May this year when the sexual harassment case involving the 20-something reporter occurred.

"She was really serious about tracking down the facts involved in a corruption case. She accepted the police officer's invitation to his home in the belief that she was going to get a story, but instead, he said to her: 'Come and sit in my lap and I'll give you a good tip,' " a police officer knowledgeable in the case tells Shukan Shincho. "She felt she had no choice but to do what he was asking, so she went and sat on his knees. He gave her a really powerful hug and began feeling all over her body. She's a very proper young woman, so even though she'd been terrified by the sexual harassment, she realized she still had to work with the guy, so kept the incident quiet for as long as she could bear. It was an enormous strain on her."

Police have questioned the superintendent, who admitted to the allegations, but added that he had been drinking at the time. He said it was meant to be nothing more than a joke, but the woman involved is not laughing, having succumbed to post-traumatic stress disorder and requiring hospitalization.

The Chiba Prefecture-born superintendent graduated from posh Keio University and joined the police force in 1991. He passed a national government test that moved him onto the force's elite career pat. He married a woman on the force with equally fine career prospects and they had three kids together. The superintendent later took a year off to study in the United States before returning to a posting in Yamanashi Prefecture in August 2004. In March this year, he was promoted and transferred to Nagasaki Prefecture.

He had been regarded as a chance to one day head a prefectural police force. But it seems he didn't realize the importance of his position, particularly -- the weekly claims -- as he had been collared for sexual harassment when he was stationed in Yamanashi Prefecture.

"There was a big corruption case involving the local board of education when he was up there. He doesn't mind dealing with the media and even when reporters suddenly turned up on his doorstep, he'd bring them out a chair and sit down and chat with them," a reporter on the Yamanashi police beat tells the weekly. "But, whenever he'd had a few, he got like he did in Nagasaki, asking the women reporters to sit on his lap and telling stories about how he and his wife had no sex life and he had to go to brothels to get himself off."

Nagasaki Prefectural Police currently refuse to comment on the case other than to say that it is still under investigation. The superintendent's parents, though, are filled with shame.

"Our son must take responsibility for what he did. We're sorry, too, for the awful thing he did," one of the parents tells Shukan Shincho. "We've heard he handed in his resignation on Sept. 1. He never used to drink too much."

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