Buddhist priest arrested for child prostitution

Mainichi Daily News, March 10, 2006

Hiroshima, Japan -- An elderly Buddhist priest, who also headed a nursery school attached to his temple in Hiroshima, has been arrested for child prostitution, police said Friday.

Itsushi Ehara, 73, chief priest of Komyoji Temple in Aki-ku, Hiroshima, and director of an affiliated nursery school, is accused of violating the Anti-Child Prostitution and Pornography Law.

He admitted to the allegations during questioning. "I did it to alleviate my work stress," he was quoted as telling investigators. He has also confessed to having been a member of a child prostitution club and paid several high school girls to have sex with him on more than 20 occasions.

In the specific case for which he was arrested, Ehara paid 80,000 yen to a girl, who was a 15-year-old, first-year high school student, to have sex with him at a hotel in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, in August 2004, Tokyo police said.