Japan police want return of MFA officer who filmed boy in Tokyo bathhouse

The 55-year-old was a counsellor at the Singapore Embassy in Japan. PHOTO: SINGAPORE EMBASSY TOKYO/FACEBOOK

The Japanese police have requested the Singapore Embassy to bring a diplomat back to Japan for questioning over photos he took of undressed males at public bathhouses in Tokyo, the local media reported.

The request from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department was made through Japan’s Foreign Ministry, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on May 14.

The 55-year-old was a counsellor at the Singapore Embassy in Japan when he admitted in February to secretly filming a boy at a public bath in Tokyo, among other acts of voyeurism.

He was later suspended from duty to assist in investigations, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on May 2.

MFA on May 15 said the Singapore Embassy in Tokyo is cooperating with the Japanese authorities to facilitate the investigations, and that it takes a very serious view of the allegations. Internal investigations are ongoing, it added.

The local media had reported that the man was caught using a smartphone to film an undressed male teenager in the men’s changing room of a public bath on Feb 27.

Investigators who searched his phone found footage of the boy in the nude, as well as footage of multiple male customers that appeared to have been taken in the bath’s communal changing room.

The man admitted to investigators that he had also taken photos surreptitiously at other public baths. At least 700 images taken over a six-month period – which he deleted that night on Feb 27 – were found on his phone.

The police could not detain him then, as he had immunity from arrest in Japan as a diplomat.

MFA said on May 2 that it was prepared to waive diplomatic immunity to facilitate investigations if the alleged facts bear out.

The man had completed his tour of duty as scheduled and returned to Singapore in April.

Japan’s public baths, known as sento, are typically used in a communal fashion, with visitors undressing in gender-segregated changing rooms before showering and entering the water.

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