It was just earlier this month that the world stood back slack-jawed while hearing the story of Yamaguchi Maho, the idol who was mistreated by her management company after being attacked by two "fans" in her own home. In Yamaguchi's case, the two men pleaded that they simply wanted to "talk" to the actress, and were let go without charges being filed.
Unfortunately, history's "Repeat" button seems to be on 2x mode.
The Sankei News broke the story yesterday that two students at Keio University in Tokyo and three of their companions won't be charged with sexual assault, despite being arrested a total of five separate times. The arrests happened over a period of several months, stretching from September 29th to December 25th. Reports are that prosecutors made the decision after what's being termed a "jidan" (示談), or out of court settlement. It's not clear what form the settlement takes - i.e., whether the victims were paid off, or political pressure was applied to their families, or a combination of both.
Reports aren't listing the names of the accused, but speculation on Twitter is that one of them is a young man named Watanabe Youta, who became nicknamed in the press as "Mr. Keio" after he finished as a finalist in the Mr. Keio Grand Prix. Watanabe has been arrested at least twice on charges of sexual assault, including assaulting a woman on the stairs of a mixed use building after she had passed out drunk. The victim reported a violent assault in which, upon coming to, she tried to escape, only to be thrown 150 meters down a flight of stairs by Watanabe, who then kicked her with the heel of his foot in her head and stomach. The woman found a police officer, who arrested Watanabe on the spot.
News of Watanabe's second arrest made big news in Japan back in October when it happened. That charge has apparently been with prosecutors for a while, who seem to have just made the decision that protecting women is just too much of a hassle. The Watanabe family is well known in Japan's Chiba Prefecture for its wealth and connections. Watanabe's grandfather ran an engineering company, and the family owns a number of construction buildings and leased office spaces around the area. Their money was apparently put to good use in getting their son off the hook for this crime.
This isn't the first assault scandal that's enveloped Keio University's beauty contests. In 2016, at a boarding house for the group that sponsored the Miss Keio Contest, a minor was sexually assaulted after being plied with liquor. As a result of the scandal, the Miss Keio Contest was banned, and the committee disbanded. Apparently, however, the male counterpart to Miss Keio is still running strong.
The news is still making the rounds in Japan, but it's starting to blow up online, with people like Twitter user @skyhigh0521 pressing the university to at the very least expel the students:
それもそうだし、慶応大学生のレイプ犯の学籍はそのままなのでしょうか？ それこそ大学当局は、犯罪者を退学処分にしなければならないはず。学問の府にふさわしくない人間は叩き出すべきだ。それが出来ない慶応大学は、学問の府ではない。 https://t.co/vNfO8YrY8O— 総ての自公議員にモリカケ疑惑の怒りを！ (@skyhigh0521) 2019年1月25日
So that's it, Keio's gonna leave it like that and have a student register of rapists? You'd think the university administration would at least feel compelled to expel the offenders. Unsuitable people should be tossed out from a place of scholarship. If Keio University can't do that, it's not a place of scholarship.
Others are making the obvious observation that prosecutors' refusal to submit charges against these five individuals puts other women at Keio University and in the general area at risk of further sexual assault. If these students were arrested five times and got away with it, you can bet they won't feel restraint in the future - especially if they believe their parents will come to their rescue again. Users on Twitter and on message boards are taking local prosecutors to task for bowing to pressure from the accused's parents, and assailing Keio for creating an atmosphere where rich kids can buy their way out of trouble.
None of the victims have come forward to speak out yet. We'll keep track of this story, and bring you updates as they arrive.
(JP) Link: Charges Dismissed Against Students Arrested Five Times for Sexual Assault - Yokohama Prosecutor
I'm the publisher of Unseen Japan. I hold an N1 Certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, and am married to a wonderful woman from Tokyo.
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