Fake audition and coerced contract lead to two arrests

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Takeru Tsuchiya is seen in a car headed for the Aichi prefectural police’s Naka Police Station in Naka Ward, Nagoya, on Wednesday.

NAGOYA — The Aichi prefectural police arrested a talent agency president and a video production company employee on suspicion of soliciting a contract for acting lessons from a 19-year-old woman after telling her she had passed a fake audition.

Takeshi Ohashi, the president of a talent agency in Minami-Chita, Aichi Prefecture, and Takeru Tsuchiya, who represents a video production company in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward, were arrested on suspicion of violating the Specified Commercial Transactions Law.

Ohashi, 57, and Tsuchiya, 26, are believed to have made about ¥200 million since 2018 from about 1,100 men and women from 11 prefectures, ranging in age from those in their teens to those in their 60s. A number of women signed up for acting lessons, but they never actually appeared in any films even after taking the lessons, the police said.

According to a police report, the suspects allegedly asked the 19-year-old vocational school student, who went to their office to be interviewed for a part-time singing job in Nagoya on May 21, to appear in a fictitious movie on the pretense that she had passed an audition for a role and persuaded her to sign a contract for acting lessons.

The woman initially declined to sign the contract, saying she wanted to consult with her family first, but the two pressed her for more than two hours, telling her that “Those inexperienced need lessons,” and “At nineteen you’re an adult. You must decide on your own without consulting others.”

In the end, the woman accepted the contract and paid ¥100,000 for a course, police said.