Prosecutors Seek Five-Year Jail Term for Actor Hirofumi Arai on Rape Charges

Japanese actor Hirofumi Arai
Courtesy of Tokyo IFF

Japanese prosecutors in the rape case against Hirofumi Arai have asked for a five-year prison sentence for the actor. They made the request was made at a public hearing Wednesday in the Tokyo District Court.

Arai has pleaded innocent to charges that he sexually assaulted a woman sent to his residence from a massage service on July 1, 2018.

In its statement to the court, the prosecution contended that the victim was in “extreme physical and emotional distress” and that Arai’s payment of money after the encounter indicated “his full recognition that the woman was opposed to his desire.”

In his testimony, Arai has denied that the woman resisted his advances or that he used threats or violence.

Japanese courts have very high conviction rates. The verdict will be announced Dec. 2.

Born Kyung-Sik Park in Hirosaki, in Japan’s Aomori Prefecture, in 1979, Arai is a third-generation ethnic Korean. After debuting in “Go,” Isao Yukisada’s 2001 drama about an ethnic Korean boy, Arai became in-demand for both TV and film roles, while winning honors that included a best new actor award at the Takasaki Film Festival for his turn as a delinquent teen in Toshiaki Toyoda’s 2002 “Blue Spring.”

After Arai’s arrest, public broadcaster NHK halted sales of 10 programs in which he was involved, including the 2015 mystery drama “64.” But the producers of Masahide Ichii’s “Typhoon Family,” in which Arai plays the son of parents who rob a bank and vanish with the money, did not re-shoot his scenes prior to the film’s June 2019 release.

Arai appeared at the opening ceremony of the 28th TIFF in 2015 as a star in the Koji Fukada sci-fi drama “Sayonara.” He also attended the 27th TIFF in support of the Masaharu Take boxing film “100 Yen Love.”