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Man Accused of Abusing Terrace House Member Online to be Referred to Prosecutors

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hana Kimura

The Metropolitan Police Department is planning to refer a man to prosecutors on charges of criminal insult for allegedly posting abusive comments on Twitter about professional wrestler Hana Kimura, who committed suicide in May, aged 22.

Kimura had received hundreds of abusive online messages in connection with her appearance in the reality show Terrace House, aired on Fuji Television.

The MPD will refer a man in his 20s from Osaka to prosecutors without arresting him. The MPD decided he should be questioned to determine if he should be punished for allegedly repeatedly posting abusive comments that were particularly malicious.

According to investigation sources, the MPD suspects the man insulted Kimura in public by posting several replies to Kimura’s tweets in mid-May, including comments such as, “Is your life worth living?” and “When will you die?”

The man has admitted the allegations. “I hated her after watching the TV program and wanted to hurt her feelings,” he was said to state to the investigators.

In October last year, Kimura joined the cast of Terrace House, a reality show that followed the lives of young men and women living together.

Kimura lashed out at a male housemate in an episode released on the Netflix online video streaming service on March 31, after which she started to receive abusive comments online.

However, Fuji Television aired the same episode on May 19.

“Nearly 100 honest opinions every day. I can’t deny that it hurts,” she wrote in a Twitter post four days later, before committing suicide.

The MPD launched the investigation after being consulted by Kimura’s family and confirmed that hundreds of abusive and defamatory posts had been directed at Kimura in the about two-month period following the release of the episode on Netflix.

Although most of the posts had been deleted, the MPD was able to recover the data and identify the abuser.

The man sent an apology via email to Kimura’s family in June, in which he wrote, “I’m one of the people who drove her to commit suicide.”