National / Crime & Legal

Charges dropped against member of Tokio pop group

Kyodo, Staff Report

Prosecutors have decided to drop the indictment against a 46-year-old member of an all-male pop group for kissing a high school student against her will at his condominium earlier this year.

Tatsuya Yamaguchi, the musician, TV personality and Tokio member, had admitted to the charge. According to the lawyer representing the band’s management, the girl has withdrawn the complaint she had filed with police. The prosecutors are likely to have made the decision taking into account these facts.

Yamaguchi was referred to prosecutors in April on suspicion of forcibly kissing the girl, whom he had met through work, at his home in Minato Ward, Tokyo, in February.

He has apologized to the victim and she has agreed to a settlement.

Yamaguchi held a news conference on Thursday, a day after his case came to light in the media, saying he would be suspended from work indefinitely.

Yamaguchi said he had been working while in a hospital since around Jan. 15 to “rest his liver” and improve its function. “I’ve been told by my company not to drink too much,” he said.

He was discharged on the morning of Feb. 12 and went home to sort out his belongings. He said he eventually began drinking and recalled being inebriated by the time he contacted the girl, who he knew through work. According to police, he said she visited his home with a friend at around 8 p.m.

The case prompted the suspension of TV programs, commercials and advertisements in which Yamaguchi appeared, including an NHK program for youths and agricultural promotion posters put up by Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear crisis.

Yamaguchi, along with the four other band members — Shigeru Joshima, Taichi Kokubun, Masahiro Matsuoka and Tomoya Nagase — had been working as special ambassadors to promote the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games flag tour.