National / Crime & Legal

Tokio member Tatsuya Yamaguchi investigated over indecent act with high school girl

Kyodo

A member of the all-male pop group Tokio has been referred to prosecutors on suspicion of engaging in an indecent act with a high school-aged girl, investigative sources said Wednesday.

Tatsuya Yamaguchi, 46, allegedly kissed the girl against her will at his home in Tokyo’s Minato Ward in February, the sources said, adding the police referred the case to the prosecutors last week.

Johnny & Associates, the talent agency managing Tokio, acknowledged the incident and released a statement from Yamaguchi saying he feels “deeply sorry for kissing the victim without considering her feelings after drinking alcohol.”

According to the sources, Yamaguchi has told investigators he asked the girl, whom he had met through work, to drink alcohol at his home.

“I have offered my apology with my whole heart to the victim, who has agreed to come to a settlement,” the musician and TV personality said in the statement.

Tokio is a five-member group that made its debut on the music scene in 1994. They perform as a band and also appear on television, especially variety shows.

While Yamaguchi has been an emcee for “R no Hosoku” (“R’s rules”), a program for youths aired by public broadcaster NHK, the broadcaster said it has canceled the show for Wednesday and Thursday.

It has also decided to stop internet distribution of the show’s past episodes on its video-on-demand site.

Commercial broadcasters Nippon Television Network Corp. and Fuji Television Network Inc. also decided to stop using Yamaguchi on their programs for the time being.

Yamaguchi and four other Tokio members — Shigeru Joshima, Taichi Kokubun, Masahiro Matsuoka and Tomoya Nagase — have been working as special ambassadors to promote the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games flag tour, in which replicas of the official Olympic and Paralympic flags will tour across Japan in the run-up to the Games.

Yamaguchi, who plays bass guitar for the band, married in 2008. The couple divorced in 2016.