Politician, JOC official denies harassing 2010 medalist Takahashi

Upper house member and Japanese Olympic Committee official Seiko Hashimoto on Wednesday denied sexually harassing Vancouver Olympic figure skating bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi.

According to the weekly Shukan Bunshun magazine's edition that went on sale Wednesday, the 49-year-old Hashimoto -- who is also president of the Japan Skating Federation and a bronze medalist herself in speed skating at the 1992 Winter Games -- forced Takahashi into letting her repeatedly kiss him during a party after the Sochi Olympics in February.

The story is accompanied by photos of Hashimoto hugging and kissing the 28-year-old heartthrob amid the alcohol-fueled bash held at the athletes' village.

The 49-year-old Hashimoto flatly denied the allegations, although she was sorry for the circumstances.

"I did not force him into letting me kiss him," said Hashimoto, who is the head of development at the JOC. "If I caused any misunderstanding, then that is something I need to be careful of and do regret."

Takahashi's management team said that he was not harassed by Hashimoto.

"Takahashi does not feel he was a victim of power or sexual harassment," Takahashi's representatives said.

JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda, speaking at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, the same day, said he will speak to Hashimoto and verify the facts before deciding on any course of action.

"I have not talked to her yet," Takeda said. "I want to get a complete handle on the situation before making any decisions."

==Kyodo