On Nov. 17, talent agency Johnny & Associates, Inc. suspended the activities of veteran singer Masahiko Kondo, 56, after he admitted to having had an extramarital affair with an unidentified 31-year-old woman. As is often the case, the indiscretion was first revealed by a weekly magazine.

Given the amount of press the suspension received, even overseas, it sounds like a big deal. Kondo is currently celebrating 40 years in showbiz, and the fact that his agency would suspend him at a time when he might make more money than he usually does sounds like a good example of shooting oneself in the foot, but certain media protocols are sacrosanct.

Kondo's sex life is nobody's business but his, his family's and his lover's, but the premise that entertainers must bow to perceived public opprobrium is an economic one, based on the belief that people's consumption with regard to a celebrity will change appreciably if they do something bad. More significantly, advertisers always stipulate in contracts that the stars who represent them do nothing to compromise their public image, otherwise the contract is void, and the stars (or their agents) can be made to compensate those advertisers. Advertising campaigns are more lucrative than concerts, movies and TV appearances.