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Iwate Pref. town mayor admits to hugging female reporter, denies kissing her

IWAIZUMI, Iwate -- After a local newspaper reported that Mayor Katsumi Date of this town sexually assaulted a female reporter, Date held a press conference on Dec. 6, admitting that he had hugged her, but "did not kiss her."

The mayor apologized for his actions but denied that he had any indecent intent. According to Iwate Nippo Co., in the early hours of a day in mid-October, the 74-year-old Date knocked numerous times on the door of the room where a female reporter for the paper had been staying overnight. When she opened the door, he entered the room and proceeded to hold her against him and kiss her multiple times.

The town of Iwaizumi suffered the greatest damage from heavy rains caused by Typhoon Lionrock in August 2016. According to Date, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) this February from the strain of dealing with the damage from the disaster. He said he began experiencing visual and auditory hallucinations since around August, and was admitted to a Morioka hospital in late October.

As to why he went to the reporter's room early in the morning, he said, "When I was washing my face at home, I heard the voice of the reporter saying 'help me.' I ran to her room, and when I saw that she was fine, I hugged her without thinking."

"I won't be able to continue to fulfill my duties while dealing with my illness," Date said of his future plans.

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