Aso retracts comment on sexual harassment scandal
NHK -- May 12
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso has retracted a remark of his about a former top bureaucrat at his ministry who is accused of sexually harassing a female TV reporter.

Aso made the remark on April 24th. He said former vice finance minister Junichi Fukuda may have been framed.

He withdrew the suggestion at Friday's Diet session when answering questions from the opposition.

Earlier in the day, Aso said he cannot deny the possibility of a set-up. He also said he was only referring to arguments on the Internet about the situation.

Aso also drew criticism for saying that there is no such thing as a sexual harassment crime.

He said he only mentioned that the Penal Code doesn't cover sexual harassment, but he will watch his mouth and apologize so that people won't think he is taking the issue lightly.

The media have quoted Aso as saying that there would never be any sexual harassment allegations if only male reporters covered the Finance Ministry. Aso said he doesn't remember saying that.

Fukuda resigned last month due to the allegation, although he denies harassing the reporter.

麻生財務大臣は、福田前次官のセクハラ問題について「はめられた可能性は否定できない」という認識を改めて示しましたが、発言を撤回しました。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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