• Kyodo

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A Buddhist governing body has questioned one of the most senior abbots at Zenkoji Temple in the city of Nagano over allegations he sexually harassed a female staffer in the latest of a monthlong series of hearings, it said Thursday.

On Wednesday, Gencho Komatsu, 83, who is accused of making discriminatory remarks about a woman in her 60s, sexually harassing her and unfairly transferring her to a different division, denied the accusations as he has repeatedly done since the hearings began, according to his lawyer.

The leadership of the Tendai sect, based in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, started the proceedings after being petitioned in July by abbots from 25 of its temples and other followers demanding Komatsu’s resignation over the allegations.

The office said it will decide whether to dismiss him after investigating the matter but declined to elaborate on what the senior abbot has said in the hearings.

Komatsu serves as the kansu (chief abbot) of the Daikanjin group in the Tendai sect, which manages the temple jointly with the Daihongan group of the Jodo sect.

He rejected calls by the abbots and followers to step down in June and told reporters the following month the allegations are “completely groundless” and he wants to prove his innocence.

The Zenkoji Temple was founded in the seventh century.

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