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Japanese creative resigns after being accused of sexual harassment at Dentsu

Yuki Kishi

A former executive creative director of Dentsu Japan has resigned from his own company following allegations he sexually harassed a woman during his tenure at the advertising giant.

Yuki Kishi, who became Dentsu Japan’s youngest ever ECD in 2014, was accused of abusing his power and sexually harassing employees by Haruka Ito, a former agency employee.

In a lengthy investigation by Buzzfeed Japan, Kishi is said to have harassed other employees of Japan’s largest agency, before leaving to found his own company Tokikitaru in April this year.

He has now reportedly resigned as representative director of Tokikitaru. He told Buzzfeed: “I regret only regretfully that I had difficulty hurting her and I was unable to apologise properly until today, I sincerely apologise to those who hurt. I really apologise.”

A spokesperson for Dentsu said: “Dentsu has been bolstering its activities to foster a safe and healthy workplaces for all of its employees in Japan as part of its working environment reform.

‘This individual left Dentsu for reasons having nothing to do with this issue. Due to our company’s policy to protect the privacy of individuals, we would like to withhold comments.”

Kishi’s resignation marks the first major resignation of the #MeToo movement to hit Asia’s advertising industry, while Ito’s testimony remains one of the few public accusations levelled at a senior figure.

The news is another blow to the Dentsu brand. The company has been trying to repair its image in the wake of  the suicide of 24 year-old Matsuri Takahashi, who took her own life due to overwork. 

The company’s chief executive Tadashi Ishii announced his resignation last year, while his replacement Toshihiro Yamamoto announced his intention to “re-establish trust” within the company by tackling overwork.

Since then, the company said it would pay US$29 million to its employees in unpaid overtime for the two years up to March 2017 following a conviction relating to labour practice violations.

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