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Mayor accused of sexual harassment could lose job after re-election of assembly members

Minakami Mayor Yoshinari Maeda (Mainichi)

MINAKAMI, Gunma -- Eleven of 13 members of the Minakami Municipal Assembly who voted for a no-confidence motion against Minakami Mayor Yoshinari Maeda after he was accused of sexual harassment were re-elected in a snap election on Sept. 9.

Maeda dissolved the municipal assembly for an election after a no-confidence motion against him was passed in July. The re-election of the 11 members means that if another no-confidence motion against him is filed it is likely to be approved by a majority of the 18-member assembly. If that happens, the mayor will automatically lose his position.

Voter turnout in the Sept. 9 election in the central Japan city reached 70.27 percent, higher than the 66.7 percent in the previous election.

Maeda was accused of sexually harassing a woman at a drinking party for an organization in the town on April 18, hugging and kissing her. The woman filed a damages report with Gunma Prefecture Police in May. After the no-confidence motion was adopted, Maeda had faced the decision to either resign or dissolve the assembly. He chose the latter.

Maeda has explained that he didn't do "anything criminal or sexually harassing in nature."

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Hata, Numata Local Bureau, and Atsuko Suzuki, Maebashi Bureau)

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