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.© Japan Today