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A businessman accused of raping two foreign women in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1996 and 1997 was detained and fined in 1998 for videotaping a woman in a restroom, police sources said Monday.

Joji Obara, 48, was reportedly fined 9,000 yen for secretly recording the woman in a beach restroom in Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, on Aug. 8, 1998. When arrested, he gave police a false name and told them he was a nonfiction writer.

Obara was indicted Friday in the rape of a Canadian woman in March 1996 in a condominium in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture. He was also charged the same day with raping another foreign woman in July 1997.

Police suspect Obara may have been involved in the disappearances of a number of foreign women, including British bar hostess Lucie Blackman, whose case has received a large amount of media coverage in her own country and in Japan.

However, Obara has denied the allegations, and police have not formally investigated him in connection with Blackman’s case, the sources said.

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