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U.S. man who appeared on NHK arrested over video footage of sexual encounter with minor

Kyodo, Staff Report

An American man who appeared on an NHK program as a reporter has been arrested on suspicion of saving a video of him having sex with an underage girl to a computer, police said.

Alex Zelikow, 30, who claims to be a website developer, is alleged to have violated child pornography laws by filming a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old girl at a condo in Tokyo’s Minato Ward in August 2012. He allegedly stored the footage on a computer hard drive in July 2013.

Zelikow has denied the charges, claiming he has no recollection of the alleged incident.

According to the Kanagawa Prefectural Police, Zelikow and the girl met through a personals website. Police raided his home on Oct. 31, 2013, but he left Japan a few days later.

Zelikow was arrested shortly after he landed at Narita International Airport on Sunday, police said.

TBS has reported that Zelikow, who had appeared on an NHK program as a reporter, filmed the sexual encounter with a hidden camera.

He returned to Japan on Sunday on a tourist visa, the network reported.

  • kayumochi

    Why did the police raid his apartment in 2013? And why did he re-enter Japan after fleeing?

    • Magus

      He probably thought he would be safe 2 years later. Mistake.

      But yes, how could the police know about the video at the time? They can’t possibly monitor everybody’s computers. And he deceived the girl with a “hidden camera”, so she couldn’t know either.

      • kayumochi

        Possibly the girl’s parents complained and upon investigation the video was found and so he fled Japan. But why did he return? I can’t imagine he thought he would be safe 2 years on …

      • Magus

        If you had a life in Japan and liked it here it’s easier to think “it was only a misdemeanor, there’s no way my name made it to a centralized database”. Especially becase the alternative is never returning to a country you loved.
        He probably forgot about the video and thought he had nothing to fear as a law abiding citizen once the dust had settled.

        The Christian Today reports they met on an SNS to teach her English. That suggests it wasn’t a one night stand, so the girl herself might have turned to the police if she was bitter after things between them went sour.

        Intercourse with a minor (16+?) is not ilegal in Japan, but if she tells police the man paid her, good luck with that. Maybe the police thought underage + foreigner = trouble. Much unfortunately in this particular case they were right.

        http://www.christiantoday.co.jp/articles/19833/20160314/former-nhk-reporter-alex-zelikow-pertain-arrested-joshikosei.htm (Japanese)

      • Philosopher

        Isn’t videoing someone on private premises without their knowledge against the law? Add in the fact that she was under 20 at the time, so he in effect allegedly made child pornography. He also appears to not have had her consent for that. He apparently broke several laws and if he did what is alleged, acted in morally reprehensible way. I doubt racism has anything to do with it.

        I’d be seriously concerned if any 17 year old was having a sexual relationship with a 27 year old. The power differential alone would be disturbing. Secreting filming it and keeping the video is even worse. If he mentioned it to any of his friends or the young woman, I can easily imagining them reporting it to the police. Perhaps that’s how they found out.

      • Charles

        The disturbing thing here is “How did the Japanese police know that he had this video?” Of course the video is illegal–I think we generally agree about that. But how did they know about it in the first place?

        The age of consent here is 14. That means it is legal for an adult to sleep with a 17-year-old. Moral? Maybe not. The right thing to do? Maybe not. But that is not the point–this is supposed to be a “rule of law society,” which means that the police get involved only after a report of something illegal (not just immoral). This is what separates Western-style democracies from Sharia law.

        This man probably thought “I like this girl and in Japan, it’s legal for an adult to sleep with a 17-year-old.” So he did. Was that “moral?” Probably not. Was it “the right thing to do?” Probably not. But I don’t see what about it was illegal, so for the police to raid his home and inspect his computer over something that was not illegal is…well…I would write “shocking” if I had not suffered so many injustices under the Japanese police myself.

        One night, at a bar, a man attacked me as I made out with a very willing woman (the woman initiated the making out, by the way). She was not underage, but probably in her 30s. Was me kissing her “immoral?” Maybe. Was it “bad conduct?” Certainly. But was it ILLEGAL? No, definitely not. Yet, when I reported the incident to the police, they kept telling me that I had been wrong to make out with this (very willing woman). When they wrote the police report (because they would not let me write it myself), they wrote it to make me look guilty. The idea that “making out with a woman in public is not illegal and assaulting a person is” never even occurred to them. This justice system is not the justice system of a rule of law democracy in the 21st century. The police quite frequently turn an eye to illegal things, and harass people who are not actually breaking any laws.

      • Philosopher

        You’re determined to see this an example of the police discriminating against this man? Good luck to you then.

      • Philosopher

        You’re determined to see this an example of the police discriminating against this man? Good luck to you then.

      • Philosopher

        You’re determined to see this an example of the police discriminating against this man? Good luck to you then.

      • Philosopher

        You’re determined to see this an example of the police discriminating against this man? Good luck to you then.

      • Philosopher

        You’re determined to see this an example of the police discriminating against this man? Good luck to you then.

      • Philosopher

        You’re determined to see this an example of the police discriminating against this man? Good luck to you then.

      • Philosopher

        You’re determined to see this an example of the police discriminating against this man? Good luck to you then.

      • Philosopher

        While you’re determined to see this an example of the police discriminating against this man they may be little point in replying to you. I’ll give it a shot anyway.

        The age of consent in Japan is actually 13 under the Japanese national criminal law code. However, all municipalities and prefectures have their own particular laws such as Tokyo’s “Youth Protection Law” which prohibit adults – that is people aged 20 and over – from having sex with youths who are under 17 years old. The age of consent in other places in Japan ranges from 13 to 18 depending on jurisdiction and the gender of the person in question. If the girl in the article above was 16 but close to 17, her age may be reported in newspapers as 17 years old.

        Regardless of her age, if her videoed them having sex without her knowledge, he committed a crime. Videoing someone under the age of 20 contravenes the child pornography laws, so that makes it two alleged offences. If the police heard that he had such a video that is probable cause for a search.

      • Charles

        “While you’re determined to see this an example of the police
        discriminating against this man they (sic) may be little point in replying to
        you.”

        Whew, no need to be so condescending. Unlike many people on Disqus, I am actually capable of changing my mind after being presented with additional information I had not been aware of before.

        As far as I knew, having sex with a 17-year-old girl was legal in Japan. However, now, you’re talking about a local law (as opposed to the national law) that says that having sex with a 17-year-old girl is illegal. Okay, fair enough. Maybe that law exists. Maybe the police did have a reason to raid his apartment and look at his computer.

        See? I’m acknowledging a possibility that I could have jumped the gun. How often do people on Disqus do that?

        However, before I fully acknowledge it, I’d really appreciate it if you’d provide a link from a credible source that says that this law (no sex with late teenagers) exists in Tokyo. If you do that, I’ll change my mind about this particular case. How’s that for open-mindedness?

        I won’t change my mind about Japanese police in general. I’ve been stopped for no reason whatsoever multiple times, and when I had my incident with the man outside the bar assaulting me because I was making out with a girl in public, the police took his side even though he had assaulted me, not the other way around. For them “gaijin making out with Japanese woman” was a far more serious crime than “Japanese guy attacks gajin.” I have a very, very low opinion of the Japanese “police” and see them more as a superficially polite lynch mob, or as a bunch of Chief Wiggums, than as actual law enforcement professionals. However, maybe in this case, they were actually right to raid his house. Please provide a link to a credible source saying that sex with 17-year-olds in Tokyo is a crime, and I’ll come into agreement with you–on this particular case, anyways.

      • kayumochi

        I too have experienced the capriciousness of Japanese law enforcement and I quickly learned to simply tell them what they want to hear even though they know I am lying. If you tell them the truth then they are forced to deal with it. And they won’t call you out for lying because they certainly don’t want to have to act.

      • kayumochi

        I too have experienced the capriciousness of Japanese law enforcement and I quickly learned to simply tell them what they want to hear even though they know I am lying. If you tell them the truth then they are forced to deal with it. And they won’t call you out for lying because they certainly don’t want to have to act.

      • Charles

        Yeah, I agree. The disturbing thing here is not that he got busted for the illegal pornography. The disturbing thing is that the police were even able to find out in the first place. “He slept with a 17-year-old” is NOT a valid reason to search his home, because sleeping with a 17-year-old is NOT against the law.

        The more I learn about Japan (having lived here for over five years), the more I realize that the Japanese police are not enforcing any laws at all, but rather “Japanese common sense,” or “Japanese Sharia.” You can get busted or get in serious trouble without violating any laws at all, and the justice system here is so medieval, the Japanese police can get away with it.

  • Magus

    He probably thought he would be safe 2 years later. Mistake.

    But yes, how could the police know about the video at the time? They can’t possibly monitor everybody’s computers. And he deceived the girl with a “hidden camera”, so she couldn’t know either.