The mayor of the town of Togo in Aichi Prefecture has resigned after he was accused of intense power harassment by several workers. Instances include telling an employee “you have a brain smaller than a pigeon.”

An End to Years of Harassment

Kenji Imata, 57, was first elected mayor nearly 20 years ago and served a term before taking other council positions. In November 2023, he was accused of power harassment, leading to a third party investigation.

Following the results of the investigation, Imata announced his resignation at a press conference earlier today, stating his “deepest apologies to all the staff.” He was found to have conducted power harassment across his years in office, with 108 staff out of 582 respondents stating that they experienced harassment by Imata.

Harassment included informing an employee that they had “a brain smaller than a pigeon,” and other derogatory phrases, including calling two employees “idiot 1 and idiot 2” and that their work was “worse than a low-class university.”

On a more sinister note, Imata told council members to die and that they should go and [drown themselves in] the nearby river.

Sexual Harassment and Illegal Acts

According to the third party committee, Imata was not only accused of severe power harassment but also sexual harassment. He is found to have committed numerous instances of sexual harassment, including making unwanted advances towards female employees and scores of sexually charged comments. Imata also threatened to kill a staff member if she took maternity leave.

For employees at Togo council, this harassment will come as no surprise, as claims surfaced late last year, leading to an investigation by a third party committee. Following the allegations, a separate no-confidence vote was proposed in November 2023, yet this was rejected due to a lack of backers.

Committee chairman, Tatsuyuki Hori, said “I was shocked to see how long this harassment — some of it clearly illegal — had continued.”

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