Nun alleging sexual abuse by Tendai priest in Japan seeks relief amid skepticism (Pt. 3)

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TAKAMATSU (Kyodo) — In late January, the Tendai Religious Office in Otsu received a petition for a disciplinary hearing sent by Eicho, and in March, the Tendai sect commenced an investigation and began questioning her. Speaking at a press conference following her meeting with Tendai officials, she said, “I am finally able to stand in the ring. I am asking again that they be punished properly.”

However, there is considerable skepticism about whether there will be a proper internal investigation into the alleged sexual assaults that occurred in the secluded temple located in the small town in the Shikoku region.

Eicho and her legal representative are requesting the establishment of a third-party committee, but are also considering filing for human rights relief outside the Tendai sect to provide aid to remedy Eicho’s situation.

Her attorney Sato said, “Just because no one has been convicted in a criminal case does not mean they are forgiven. We hope that the Tendai sect takes this issue very seriously and delivers the appropriate punishments.”

After the same press conference, the Tendai Religious Office said, “We consider this a serious matter, but we cannot comment as we are in the middle of an investigation. We will proceed with the investigation solemnly and confirm the facts.”

When Kyodo interviewed the accused abbot, he revealed that in mid-March he had been interviewed for three hours by two senior counselors at the Tendai Religious Office.

“I spoke the truth,” he told Kyodo. But as for the facts, he added, “I have been instructed by the Tendai sect not to give interviews (about the case). I cannot comment,” he said.

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