SMAP singer Takuya Kimura has been caught speeding twice in four months, casting a shadow over a sponsorship deal with Toyota, reports said Thursday.
The heartthrob, whose increasingly middle-aged female fanbase spreads throughout Asia, was caught doing up to 120 kilometers an hour on a motorway with a speed limit of 80 kph last September, the weekly Shukan Bunshun said.
The 39-year-old was with his wife Shizuka Kudo in a Chevrolet Astro on the way to a popular surf spot when he was pulled over, the magazine said.
Kimura, known to his legion fans by the nickname Kimutaku, was again charged with speeding on a street in Tokyo in January, his management company, Johnny's Jumusho, said in a statement published in Japanese newspapers. His driver's license was suspended.
"He has paid the penalty in each case," the statement said, offering "profound apologies" for his offenses.
"Kimura himself deeply regrets that he has acted in a shameful manner... and vows not to repeat such a thing."
SMAP started out as a fresh-faced boy band some 20 years ago, and despite sometimes obvious musical shortcomings, they have remained popular in Japan and across Asia.
Kimutaku has starred in a series of Toyota commercials since last October with popular Japanese comedian-actor-filmmaker "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, under the slogan "Fun to Drive Again."
"It was very regrettable," a Toyota spokesman said when asked about Kimutaku's misdeed. "We have asked him to abide by traffic rules."
He added that the company had no immediate plan to end the commercials.© AFP