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Ex-actor Hirofumi Arai sentenced to 5 years in prison over sexual assault of masseuse

The Mainichi logo The Mainichi 5 days ago The Mainichi
Hirofumi Arai wearing a white shirt: Hirofumi Arai (Mainichi/Teruko Kukita) (Image partially modified) © The Mainichi Hirofumi Arai (Mainichi/Teruko Kukita) (Image partially modified)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo District Court sentenced former actor Hirofumi Arai to five years' imprisonment on Dec. 2 after convicting him of sexually assaulting a masseuse dispatched to his home.

According to the ruling, Arai assaulted the masseuse at his residence in Tokyo in the early hours of July 1, 2018. The district court found him guilty and handed down the five-year prison sentence as demanded by prosecutors. The 40-year-old former film star filed an appeal following the sentencing.

During the trial, public prosecutors said Arai signed a consent form banning customers from engaging in sexual activities with masseuses at the time he used the services. They also pointed out that Arai and the woman were alone in a dark room and that he was about 20 centimeters taller than her, arguing that the woman "had tremendous fear (of Arai) and it's clear that it was extremely difficult for her to put up resistance against him." They stated, "What the defendant has done constitutes an assault under the charge of forced sexual intercourse, etc."

The woman spoke at the court, stating she was "deeply frustrated" that she was "handled like an object" even though she tried to resist Arai.

The defense counsel for Arai on the other hand pleaded not guilty arguing that he misunderstood that there was consent from the woman. Arai told the court that while he was "slightly concerned" that he might not have got her consent, his belief that he had "was stronger (than his concerns)."

(Japanese original by Richi Tanaka, Local News Group)

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