On Tuesday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested director and actor Hideo Sakaki. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in her 20s who aspired to become an actor. According to the police, the suspect has denied the charges.  

The incident was said to have taken place on May 23, 2016. Sakaki and the alleged victim, who had reportedly met at an acting instruction workshop led by the director, had been out for some drinks and food when he invited her to his apartment to “talk a little bit more about acting.” He later suggested that she remove her clothes, so he could check what she looked like naked, as it would be difficult to land roles if she had a tattoo.

Tabloid Allegations

In March 2022, four women spoke to the weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun, accusing the Versus and Battlefield Baseball actor of sexual assault, with one of the allegations dating as far back as 2011. Sakaki issued an apology, but refuted parts of the article. While admitting to having sex with three of the women, he claimed it was consensual. He denied any kind of relationship with the fourth woman.

Japan Film Industry Rocked by Several Sexual Assault Claims 

Sakaki subsequently canceled his directorial works, Honeymoon (Mitsugetsu) and Hazard Lamp. On March 18, 2022, his then wife, composer Izumi Sakaki, released a statement saying, “I apologize to the women whose hearts and bodies were hurt by Hideo Sakaki in my house. I’m so sorry. I am trying to end our marriage.” Other revelations of sexual assault further rocked Japan’s film industry in the spring of 2022. Actor Houka Kinoshita, a close friend of Sakaki who appeared in several of his films, was accused of sexual assault by three women. And in April of that year, allegations of sexual harassment and assault against famed director Sion Sono by two women appeared in Shukan Josei Prime magazine. He claimed the allegations were false. 

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