Miyagi mayor sued for sexual harassment dissolves village assembly

Kyodo

The mayor in the village of Ohira, Miyagi Prefecture, dissolved the village assembly this week after he was sued for alleged acts of sexual harassment.

Ohira, population 5,563, dissolved its 14-member assembly on Tuesday after it passed a vote of no-confidence against Mayor Masahiro Atobe, 66.

An assembly election will be held April 26 to choose the new assembly members.

The no-confidence vote follows a sexual harassment lawsuit filed earlier this month by a female village employee against Atobe.

According to the damages lawsuit filed with the Sendai District Court on March 13, Atobe demanded sexual relations with her on more than 10 occasions, and sent her more than 1,300 emails asking her out for meals.

Atobe has denied wrongdoing, saying he was merely friendly to her. But the village assembly was not convinced and passed the no-confidence motion on Monday.

Atobe explained that he had no choice but to disband the assembly the following day because the assembly would not cooperate on important proceedings, including deliberations on the fiscal 2015 budget.