We withdraw our article about the Kusatsu incident and apologise to the mayor of Kusatsu Town

Regarding an alleged ‘sexual assault’ incident in Kusatsu in 2015, we published an article in English (Caroline Norma & Emma Dalton. ‘Big-time misogyny in small-town Japan’) on our website dated 29 November 2020, based on the testimony of former Kusatsu town councillor Shoko Arai who complained about her sexual victimisation. However, this year, at the first court trial of the writer who published the e-book that started the current row, significant evidence was presented by the prosecution that contradicted Arai’s testimony. In addition, she admitted in her recently published newsletter, Shokotan Tsushin, that her specific testimony had been accurately reflected in the false description written by the e-book writer. However, Arai continues to maintain that it is true that she was physically touched by the town mayor and that the sexual harm itself existed. However, she herself admits that the rest of the story was a lie.

 In view of these facts, we decided that the article dated 29 November 2020 should be withdrawn. However, given that the article does not describe the specific details of the sexual assault, but merely states that the mayor ‘sexually assaulted the town’s first and only female councillor, Shouko Arai’, if her claim that she was touched by the mayor is true, then it can be said that our article is not necessarily factually incorrect. However, as it is now clear that the rest of her specific testimony was false, we have decided that it is still appropriate to withdraw the article as a whole and to apologise to Mayor Nobutada Kuroiwa and all concerned.

 The Association for Supporting Former Kusatsu Town Councillor Shoko Arai has already issued a dissolution statement. As it deals with this issue in more detail, we reproduce it below.

The Editorial Board of APP International

3 March 2023

Dear residents of Kusatsu Town

The Association for Supporting Former Kusatsu Town Councillor Shoko Arai is dissolved

Signed chairman: Koji Nakazawa (Kusatsu Town Councilor)

 We distributed a statement of suspension of our Association to the townspeople dated 25 December 2022, and, in light of the fact that Shoko Arai, former Kusatsu Town Councilor, published the first issue of her newsletter, Shokotan Tsushin (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Tsushin’), against our wishes, we have decided to dissolve our Association.

 The reason why we decided to suspend the activities of our Association at the end of last year was that, on 31 October 2022, Arai was indicted on charges of defamation and false accusations, which raised serious doubts about her testimony. We repeatedly demanded an explanation from her, but she refused to give one, citing poor health. The principle in criminal trials is that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. We therefore decided to suspend our activities until the facts were clarified in her trial and a judicial decision was reached.

 However, on 16 February this year, at the first session of the court trial of the writer of the e-book that started the current case, the prosecution presented incriminating evidence. It was a one-hour recording from 8 January 2015, the day of the incident, which had been erased by Arai, leaving only the first 15 minutes. The prosecution recovered the audio recording in its entirety from her computer, in which the conversation between the mayor and Arai continued uninterrupted throughout the hour, and it was clear that the events that she alleged (i.e. being pushed down by the mayor, having her underwear removed, etc.) had not occurred.

 Regarding this audio data, Arai originally explained it as follows. ‘I thought the mayor might have found out I was recording, so I turned off the recording when he came up to me, so only the first 15 minutes or so were recorded. If there had been a tape recording of the whole hour, I would have erased the whole recording immediately because it was too painful for me to have a record of”. We believed this explanation, but in fact, it was an outright lie, and the recording was made throughout the entire time with the mayor.

 In addition to the evidence from the prosecution, Arai herself admitted in her ‘Tsushin’ that she had given false testimony as recorded in the description in the e-book that started it all. Arai still claims that she was sexually harmed by being touched, and we do not deny the possibility that this is true, but she admits that the main part of the indecent assault, including being pushed down, having her underwear removed, etc., is not true.

 In the ‘Tsushin’, Arai writes: “I can only say thanks to feminists and support group people, town councillor Nakazawa Koji and the church that accepted me and those who believed in me”, but we must say that this statement is out of line. First of all, Arai should apologise sincerely for severely damaging the honour of Mayor Kuroiwa Nobutada by giving false testimony and even filing criminal charges, and for continuing to lie to her supporters and mislead them and the public.

 We must also apologise to Mayor Kuroiwa for believing the testimony of Arai and making allegations of indecent assault against him. We would like to apologise deeply to Mayor Kuroiwa, his family and supporters. We are truly sorry. We also apologise to the people of Kusatsu Town for the inconvenience we have caused them.

28 February 2023

投稿者: appjp




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