Zenkoji’s chief priest, 82, denies sexual harassment of female staffer, refuses to step down

The Japan Times/July 13, 2016

Nagano – The 82-year-old chief abbot of the prestigious Zenkoji Temple in the city of Nagano on Tuesday rebuffed claims that he made sexually explicit or discriminatory remarks to a female staff member.

Gencho Komatsu, under pressure to step down for remarks he allegedly made to the female employee of the 14 century-old temple, told reporters the allegations against him are “completely false” and stressed that he will not resign.

Last month, abbots of 25 Tendai sect Buddhist temples under Zenkoji’s umbrella submitted a petition calling for Komatsu’s resignation.

According to temple officials, Komatsu made discriminatory remarks about the woman, who is in her 60s, to others around him, sexually harassed her and transferred her to a different division of the temple.

Zenkoji is jointly managed by two organizations. One is the Tendai sect group Daikanjin and the other is the Jodo sect group Daihongan.

Komatsu is the head of Daikanjin. He is also chief abbot of Zenkoji, which was founded in the seventh century.

Komatsu also denied he knows the woman who is making the sexual harassment claims. “I’d like to prove my innocence,” he said.

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