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Japanese director Sion Sono accused of sexual assault by two actresses amid country’s #MeToo movement

Japanese director Sion Sono has reportedly responded to the allegations (Picture: Getty)

‘Maverick’ Japanese director Sion Sono has been accused of sexual assault after two actresses came forward with allegations this week.

The allegations were published yesterday by entertainment outlet Shukan Josei amid what some are claiming to be the country’s #MeToo movement.

The actresses, who remained anonymous, made allegations against Sono, 60, claiming the director boasted of making sexual advances to ‘most of [his] leading ladies’ in return for roles in his films.

It’s alleged his advances were linked to his acting workshops, the latest of which has been cancelled in the wake of the accusations.

An executive at a Japanese film distributor claimed to the outlet: ‘Even now, there is a director who has no qualms about saying “If you screw me, I’ll give you work”.

‘His films are acclaimed and many actresses want to appear in them. He uses that to assault women as if it’s nothing. That director is Sion Sono.’

One actress claimed Sono told her lots of women had sex with him in order to work in his films, and, as a result, they went on to great careers in the industry thanks to him.

She claimed Sono attempted to force her to have sex after offering her a role in one of his films and, when she refused, called on another woman who had worked on previous projects before they proceeded to ‘engage in sexual acts in front of her’.

The accusers remained anonymous (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

It was then claimed that an assistant director who was present at the time led the shocked actress outside, before he then allegedly attempted to take her to a love hotel.

Sono was also accused by another actress of coercing her into sex in exchange for roles, allegedly telling her: ‘I want to screw you while you’re talking to your boyfriend on the phone,’ and when he was told the woman didn’t have a boyfriend, replying: ‘Well get one, I like that kind of thing.’

According to Variety, Sono responded through his company, saying: ‘To whom it may concern. Thank you very much for your continued support. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and concern this may have caused to all parties concerned. We will make a new announcement after sorting out the facts.’

The director, who has won a cult following for his style, which involves vivid and provocative depictions of violence and eroticism, rose to international fame after his 2008 film Love Exposure won the FIPRESCI Prize at Berlin.

He is married to Megumi Kagurazaka, a former pin-up model who has also appeared in a number of his films, with the pair sharing a child, born in 2019.

The allegations come amid claims Japan may be on the verge of its own #MeToo movement, after director Hideo Sakaki was accused of sexual assault by multiple women last month.

Sakaki admitted to having sex with three of the women, insisting it was consensual, while he denied having any kind of relationship with the fourth.

Three more women also made allegations of sexual assault against actor Houka Kinoshita, 58, a close friend of Sakaki’s, with some of the women claiming they coerced women together.

Responding to the allegations, Sakaki’s wife, singer Izumi Sakaki, issued a statement March 18 which read: ‘I apologise to the women whose hearts and bodies were hurt by Hideo Sakaki in my house. I’m so sorry. I am trying to end our marriage.’

Metro.co.uk has contacted reps for Sono for comment.

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