Japanese oil giant Eneos Holdings Inc. said Wednesday the recent resignation of chief executive Tsutomu Sugimori resulted from his inappropriate conduct against a woman, echoing the fall from grace of a prominent Japanese actor following similar misconduct.
Sugimori's abrupt departure was announced Aug. 12, with the company citing "personal reasons" without elaborating at the time. Eneos's Wednesday follow-up came just after a weekly magazine alleged in an online report that he had sexually harassed and injured a hostess at a bar in the southern prefecture of Okinawa.
The company said in a statement that it opened an investigation after the woman reported the incident, and later concluded Sugimori's behavior was inappropriate and asked him to resign.
Sugimori joins a growing list of prominent Japanese men who were forced out of their jobs because of sexual misconduct. Women in Japan, who had been reluctant to come forward with allegations of misconduct, are now less hesitant to do so, encouraged by the rise of the #Me Too movement.
Toyota Motor Corp. said earlier this month it was terminating a contract with Teruyuki Kagawa, a popular actor who has appeared in the automaker's TV ads and online publication, after a magazine reported he had sexually assaulted a hostess at a Tokyo bar.
Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori was forced to quit in February last year, less than six months before the start of the games, after the former prime minister's remarks accusing women of talking too much caused a barrage of criticism.
In Wednesday's article, Daily Shincho, the online edition of the Shukan Shincho weekly, said Sugimori groped the hostess and forced a kiss on her. She sustained an injury requiring two weeks to heal, with her rib broken as she tried to resist him, the report said.
Eneos said the company had refrained from making the incident public until now to protect the victim's privacy.
The former CEO has also stepped down as head of the Petroleum Association of Japan, an industry organization.
Sugimori joined what is now Eneos in 1979. After serving as president of JXTG Holdings Inc., Eneos's predecessor company, he became chairman and chief executive officer of Eneos in 2020.
Business and political leaders in Japan have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as a growing number of people have come to take their questionable behavior in both official and private settings as a sign of a lack of leadership skills.
Wednesday also saw outdoor gear maker Snow Peak Inc. announce that its president has stepped down, saying Risa Yamai offered to resign as she dated a married man and became pregnant. The 34-year-old's father and company chairman Toru has taken over the post.