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Talent agents arrested after model forced to act in porn videos

Kyodo, Staff Report

Police have arrested a former president of talent agency Marks Japan and two other people after a young woman said she was raped repeatedly on camera for adult videos and threatened with financial penalties if she refused this “contractual” obligation.

Investigative sources said Sunday the people were arrested a day earlier on suspicion of dispatching the woman in her 20s to work with a video producer over two consecutive days in late 2013 during which she was coerced into engaging in a sex act, they said.

The initial work earned ¥250,000, and it became a cycle from which the victim was unable to escape, as staff allegedly threatened to reveal it to her family if she refused to continue.

Two of the detained suspects were named as the agency’s former boss Norihide Murayama, 49, and current President Takashi Kozasu, 50. They allegedly violated the law regulating temp worker agency businesses, which bans temp agencies from dispatching workers for harmful work against public morals.

The sources said Marks Japan, located in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, demanded that the woman perform in adult videos after she signed a contract as a model in 2009. When she tried to refuse, the agency said there would be financial penalties for breach of contract and threatened to demand that her parents pay.

The woman was forced to have sex on camera in more than 100 videos until she was able to cancel the contract in 2014, the sources said.

She went to the police last fall. The case is rare as many young victims are believed to keep silent about their ordeals.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police officers raided Marks Japan and the video producer in late May, they said.

In March, Human Rights Now, a Tokyo-based advocacy group, warned of rising numbers of cases in which young fashion hopefuls are coerced into obscene or pornographic videos after responding to offers from agents purporting to offer above-board assignments.

In many cases, they sign contracts with companies without knowing they would then be pressured to have sex on camera, the group said.

It said the number of cases of counseling with support groups for victims rose to 81 in 2015 from 32 in 2014. There was only one instance each in 2012 and 2013.