In this still from a YouTube video, Keiichiro Koyama apologizes to viewers during the June 6 broadcast of Nippon TV's news program "News Every." Photo: Nippon TV/YouTube

Idol singer Keiichiro Koyama suspended for encouraging underage girl to drink liquor


Keiichiro Koyama, 34, and Shigeaki Kato, 30, members of popular group News, promoted by Johnny & Associates, are in hot water for allegedly encouraging an underage girl to drink at a party.

The scandal was reported by tabloid magazine Shukan Bunshun in its June 7 edition. The story said the party was organized by Koyama himself, and that a then 19-year-old girl had been urged to drink alcohol in gulps.

Immediately after learning of the incident through the media, Johnny’s released a statement saying that they “take the incident very seriously” and have decided to suspend Koyama from any entertainment activities for a certain time, while Kato, who was also present at the party, though did not organize it, had been officially reprimanded and asked to provide a written statement of regret.

In addition to being the leader of the group News, Koyama is also a popular newscaster on Nippon TV’s News Every, a weekday daily news program.

Koyama officially apologized to viewers during the June 6 broadcast of the news program, saying he was explicitly told by the girl in question that she was 20 years old at the time of the party — the legal age for drinking in Japan. He further said, however, that regardless of the circumstances, he deeply regrets allowing the incident to take place.

“I was partying with a minor and encouraged her to drink.,” Koyama, wearing a black suit, said at the beginning of the program. “In my position as a newscaster, who has reported various news until now and at times criticized a number of people and their actions on television, I am aware that my actions were inappropriate. I am deeply sorry.”

Koyama further announced that he will not take part in the news program for a certain time, during which he would be “reflecting on” the incident and rethink his actions.

The news comes less than two months after another member of a group managed by Johnny’s & Associates, Tatsuya Yamaguchi from the popular group Tokio, was accused of forcibly kissing a high school girl at his apartment after drinking heavily. Johnny’s terminated their contract with Yamaguchi in May.

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Koyama further announced that he will not take part in the news program for a certain time, during which he would be “reflecting on” the incident and rethink his actions.

I'd rethink and reflect on perhaps not abusing your position to get young women locked.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've no doubt that he was trying to get her drunk, and I really dislike the pressure that's put on people, male or female, to drink alcohol. This isn't something that's exclusive to Japan.

However, I really think that someone who is 19 is adult enough to make her own judgement and refuse alcohol if she doesn't want it. She sounds like a willing participant to me, especially if she claimed to be 20.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Sorry, but offering a 19-year old a drink is hardly crime of the century.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Yaaawn...slow news day I see.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ikki-nomi is forcing bottoms-up, the 'gulping' in the article. University freshmen die every year from it. She sounds like an airhead, sure, but this guy has done this before and has now got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Take what's coming! The main punishment will be a roasting, a lethal combination of the press and a frothing public.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The 19 yr old was probably in consent as the drinks were offered by her idol. Making good judgements and being cautious is something that should have developed basically during childhood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

have been **

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just provide a written statement of regret that makes it all better hahaha

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

He just helped get a 19 year old drunk. As far as we know, he did not assault or rape her. I know 19 year olds are considered minors in Japan so this is not a ‘nothing’ story - especially for a celebrity who obtained celebrity status due to his carefully managed public image. If it’s true that the young lady lied about her age then this is not much of an offense. A slap on the wrist and a little public embarrassment is about right.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I’ll bet that drinking was not the only thing they were encouraging her to do.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

She's got her own mind. She knew what she was doing. He's not the criminal here

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When you can say an underage girl equals 19 years old, that's just plain silly. It defies logic. 18 years old seem to be the globally accepted norm of becoming an adult in civilized societies. If she can't make her own choices and say no to some body telling her to drink more, then she'll already destined down the path of professional victim (aggressive boyfriends, perverted bosses, regret of signing the porn contract, etc).

Koyama is a spineless sack of meat. Looks like annoying guy who buzzes your door trying to colect from NHK. Point of refenence Japanese - an apology doesn't mean anything if you have to be told to do it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Fake apology. Only sorry he got caught. I'd have more respect if he stared into the camera and said that. Atleast it would be the truth for once.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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