• Kyodo

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Police on Monday arrested the 57-year-old former president of a company that operates the Fukuoka Dome baseball stadium and an adjacent hotel for allegedly molesting a female employee.

The Fukuoka Prefectural Police said they asked Takeshi Kotsuka to come in for voluntary questioning over allegations he molested the woman this spring by embracing her against her will and committing other acts.

Kotsuka is the former chief of Hawks Town Co. and is also the former acting owner of the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks ball club.

Kotsuka has admitted to hugging the woman, they said. But he denied any malicious or criminal intent, saying he did not force himself on her.

The woman filed a complaint against Kotsuka with the police, accusing him of molesting her, investigators said. The incident is believed to have occurred in a conference room at the Sea Hawk and Resort hotel on April 7, while Kotsuka was still the president, they said.

He is also suspected of molesting another female employee by holding her by the shoulder against her will on July 11, 2002, when he was an executive of Hawks Town’s predecessor company, the police said.

They said they have received a number of complaints from other female employees that they were sexually harassed by Kotsuka.

In late September, Kotsuka was dismissed as president for a “serious violation of the law.” He then resigned as deputy representative of the baseball club.

The “serious violation” included sexual harassment and misappropriation of company funds, company sources said.

They said that under Kotsuka, the company had earmarked some 20 million yen annually to purchase 10,000 copies of books he had written.

U.S. investment fund Colony Capital LLC, which took over Hawks Town in March from ailing supermarket operator Daiei Inc., has set up an investigation panel mainly comprised of outside lawyers to look into the allegations.

Toshio Masui, the new president of Hawks Town and representative in Japan of Colony Capital, has said the panel will compile and release its conclusions within a month.

Kotsuka was appointed vice president of a company operating Daiei Inc.’s Fukuoka business in 1999 and contributed to rebuilding the parent firm’s baseball-related businesses.

After Colony Capital took over Daiei’s Fukuoka businesses, except for the baseball team, he was appointed president of Hawks Town, which became the new operating company of the businesses.

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