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Osaka Ex-Governor Finally Admits Sexual Harassment Charges

Date Posted: 2000-03-25

The former governor of Osaka Prefecture known as “Knock” Yokoyama, finally admitted in court on Tuesday to charges of sexually molesting a woman during a 1999 election campaign. Mr. Yokoyama is a former Japanese comedian turned governor. The once popular governor resigned under pressure in December 1999 after being indicted on suspicion of harassing a 21-year-old campaign worker in the back of a van.

On the first day of the highly publicized trial, Yokoyama told the court that he had actually stroked the girl’s thighs. “But because she did not resist, I escalated it,” he said in his defense.

According to several newspaper and electronic media reports, “Knock” Yokoyama admitted to spreading a blanket over both the woman and himself as they sat in the back seat of a van supposedly because she was sick and he felt cold. Originally, the ex-governor had vehemently rejected all the charges brought forward by the woman in a civil lawsuit. However, he refused to contest the suit in court. He had then lost the case and been ordered to pay ¥11 million ($103,200) in compensation, the most severe penalty ever for sexual harassment in Japan.

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