Japanese authorities announced on Thursday that they have initiated an inquiry into professional footballer Junya Ito following allegations of sexual assault made by two women, as reported by local media. Ito vehemently denies these accusations.
A police spokesperson in Osaka, responsible for investigating crimes, including sexual assaults, confirmed the receipt of a criminal complaint against Ito and the commencement of an investigation. The spokesperson refrained from providing further details regarding the nature of the complaint.
Currently representing Japan in the Asian Cup in Qatar, Ito faces allegations stemming from an incident purported to have occurred at a hotel in Osaka in June of the previous year after a friendly match between Japan and Peru.
Despite the denial of the accusations by the midfielder, as reported by Kyodo news agency quoting his legal representative, the claims are labeled as “totally unfounded.” The lawyer asserted that, while Ito did spend time with the two women, their testimonies exhibit inconsistencies, and there is a lack of physical evidence supporting the allegations.
Asked by AFP in Doha about Ito’s status with the team after Japan’s round of 16 match against Bahrain on Wednesday, national coach Hajime Moriyasu told reporters: “I’m not fully aware (of the allegation) yet. I’ll deal with it after examining it.”
The 30-year-old was named in the matchday squad but was an unused substitute as Japan won 3-1 to reach the quarter-finals.