JAAF Marathon Project Leader Seko Given Official Warning After Sexual Harassment Accusation by Female TV Announcer
According to the JAAF and the DeNA corporation where Seko serves as executive head coach of the men's ekiden team, at an afterparty following April's Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon where he was working as a guest commentator, Seko made inappropriate remarks toward a female TV announcer who was also attending the party. The announcer reported the incident to the network, who reassigned her superiors who had told her to attend the party.
The DeNA corporate headquarters PR office confirmed in an interview that Seko had made the inappropriate remarks and that as an employer it had given him an official warning and apologized to the TV network where the announcer is employed. In mid-July DeNA contacted the JAAF on the subject.
JAAF executives discussed the matter directly with Seko and likewise gave him an official warning. Seko said, "Sexual harassment? I don't remember anything like that," but appeared to show remorse and promised to be more careful about what he said in the future. "I apologize deeply," he said. A JAAF spokesperson commented, "We would like him to continue his duties."
A two-time Olympic marathoner in the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Games, Seko was named head of the Marathon Develop Project by the JAAF in the buildup to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Translator's note: Comments like Seko's made toward female guests and cast members are commonplace in the Japanese variety TV show world. In an old story from 2008 Seko was quoted making suggestive innuendo about a female cast member while appearing on one comedy variety show, to the apparent approval of other cast members. Like the current Nihon University football and Japanese amateur boxing scandals, this story coming to light may be a sign that attitudes are finally changing for the better.
translated and edited by Brett Larner