Finance ministry official denies sexual harassment

University of Minnesota regent Darrin M. Rosha. Courtesy of the University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota regent Darrin M. Rosha. Courtesy of the University of Minnesota

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 Shukan Shincho reported last week that Administrative Vice Minister Junichi Fukuda repeatedly made remarks to several female reporters that could be taken as sexual harassment.

He did not consider remarks he made to the reporter as constituting sexual harassment, the ministry said in the statement.

The Finance Ministry said it will commission a lawyer to continue its investigation into the matter so as to secure objectivity. However, both ruling and opposition lawmakers have called for Fukuda's resignation.

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

The ministry on Monday announced the results of its questioning of Fukuda and how the ministry plans to deal with the matter.

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