SMAP member Inagaki released from jail

Goro Inagaki, a member of the pop group SMAP who was being held by police on suspicion of obstructing and injuring a police officer, was released Sunday afternoon.

Inagaki, 27, had been detained at Shibuya police station in Tokyo since Friday night, when he was arrested after attempting to avoid a parking ticket and disobeying a police officer. He has admitted to the allegations and apologized, police said.

Inagaki was handed over to prosecutors Sunday morning but released later in the day after the Tokyo District Court turned down the police’s request to continue his detention.

According to the police, Inagaki was arrested for preventing a female police officer from performing her duties and for illegally parking his car in the Dogenzaka shopping district near JR Shibuya Station.

Before sending him to the prosecutors, police added the injury charge after finding that the officer had sustained slight injuries to her knees when Inagaki tried to flee by car.

The arrest of the vocalist has caused a commotion in media and entertainment circles because members of the massively popular group, composed of five male vocalists and dancers, frequently appear on the airwaves in everything from commercials to TV shows and dramas.

Inagaki’s sponsors were quick to react.

On Saturday, Fuji Television Network Inc. decided to alter today’s broadcast of the group’s weekly variety show, “SMAP X SMAP,” by combining segments that have already been filmed with a 1997 rerun featuring SMAP member Shingo Katori.

Fuji Television officials said the change was made in light of the “large social impact” of the arrest, adding that they will decide what to do with the show following the prosecutors’ decision.

Drink maker Pokka Corp. decided the same day to remove Inagaki from a commercial for “First Drip” coffee to avoid hurting its image. Inagaki has been featured in the coffee ad since March.

Inagaki, a Tokyo native, made his debut with SMAP in 1991. He has also appeared as an actor in a number of TV dramas and movies.