Hiroyuki Miyasako, a member of popular comedy duo Ameagari Kesshitai, offered an apology at a news conference Saturday for performing at an event hosted by an organized crime group and receiving money from it.
“I would like to apologize to everyone,” Miyasako, who had his contract with entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. terminated on Friday, said at the news conference, held in Tokyo. “I’m really sorry.”
Miyasako, 49, said that he is “not thinking” of retiring from the entertainment industry at the moment.
Ryo Tamura, 47, a member of comedy duo London Boots Ichi-go Ni-go, who also appeared in the event in question, joined the news conference. The two bowed deeply.
In late June, Yoshimoto Kogyo suspended Miyasako, Tamura and nine other comedians for attending the event. On July 13, the company said that Miyasako and Tamura received ¥1 million and ¥500,000, respectively, from the crime group as payment.
Asked why he did not hold a news conference soon after the scandal came to light, Miyasako said that the entertainment company stopped him from holding such an event.
According to Miyasako, he informed the company in early June about receiving the payment from the group, but Yoshimoto Kogyo decided to wait and see what happened.
Miyasako said that the company threatened to fire everyone involved in the scandal if he held a news conference.
Yoshimoto Kogyo President Akihiko Okamoto plans to hold his own news conference Monday to explain the situation.
Miyasako initially said he did not receive money from the group. But at Saturday’s news conference, he admitted he lied. “I was trying to save my own skin,” he said.
Tamura said that he was “dissatisfied” with the company for not allowing a news conference to be held. “I’ve been banned from telling the truth, and I can’t stand it any more.”
“I personally want my contract (with Yoshimoto) to be ended,” he added.
Tamura said that he is “unable to think” about retiring from the showbiz industry at the moment.