OSAKA (Kyodo) Prosecutors demanded a five-year prison term Thursday for pop music producer Tetsuya Komuro, who has pleaded guilty to swindling an investor out of ¥500 million in 2006 and repaid the sum plus arrears since the trial began earlier this year.
“It was a crafty, malicious crime that made maximum use of his status as a big-name musician,” the prosecution said in its closing arguments at the Osaka District Court.
Komuro’s counsel sought a suspended term. The court will rule on May 11.
Komuro, 50, was a high-flying music producer, song writer, composer and arranger in the 1990s. He and the investor, from Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, signed a contract in July 2006 in which Komuro sold him the copyrights to his songs, even though he didn’t own them, for ¥1 billion, the indictment said.
The agreement covered about 800 songs, most written by Komura.
Komura accepted an advance payment of ¥500 million the following month, claiming it was required to release the royalties seized by his former wife, the indictment said.
After pleading guilty in January when his trial opened, Komuro repaid the investor ¥648 million, including arrears. The money was prepared by Masato Matsuura, 44, president of Avex Group Holdings Inc., which has grown rapidly on hit songs produced by Komuro.
Wearing a black suit and a tie, Komuro apologized again to the investor, reading out to the court, at the judge’s direction, a letter he sent the victim that was returned last month.
“I hope to spend the rest of my life bearing in mind that I should turn over a new leaf,” Komuro said. “I hope to contribute to society through music.”
Responding to questions posed by his defense team, Komuro said, “I betrayed the (investor’s) intentions to help me . . . My all-too-easy behavior set off his wrath.”
Komuro said he no longer produces hit songs.
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