• Kyodo News


As the entertainment industry reels from the arrest of SMAP’s Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, journalists debated whether Tokyo police acted properly and slammed the mass media for failing to cover the incident with a more critical eye.

Shuntaro Torigoe, former editor in chief of Sunday Mainichi weekly magazine, said it was “unreasonable” for the police to arrest the 34-year-old pop idol for “public indecency for being naked in a deserted park at 3 a.m.”

When someone who is drunk is making a lot of noise, police usually try to protect the person, he said, adding that Kusanagi was arrested simply because he is a celebrity and that police probably suspected he was on drugs.

“But this is wrong,” Torigoe said. “It’s pathetic when I see the mass media fueling such a brouhaha based on a misjudgment by the police” and companies scrambling to cancel commercials featuring him, he said.

A drug test carried out on the star came up negative.

The Akasaka police, which arrested Kusanagi and searched his home for a half hour anyway, said it has been getting nonstop calls from Kusanagi fans, mostly women, protesting their actions.

A senior officer at the station said they arrested Kusanagi on the spot “because stripping naked was a clear-cut criminal act.”

“It was not an act that left any room for doubt,” he said.

Akihiro Otani, another well-known journalist, said he believes the star’s arrest was “unavoidable” to ensure his safety and prevent him from causing trouble again.

“If a police officer had just scolded him, he might have made a lot of noise again after the officer left,” Otani said of the 3 a.m. incident.

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