Man Arrested Over Alleged Defamation of Olympian Daiya Seto; Suspect Impersonated Swimmer, Posted Obscene Images on X

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Daiya Seto

A 33-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of defamation and displaying obscene images while claiming to be Olympic swimmer Daiya Seto by posting the images on X, according to Saitama prefectural police.

Dai Kashiramoto, a company employee from Higashi-Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, allegedly pretended to be the 29-year-old swimmer in direct messages. Kashiramoto posted a screenshot of one such exchange along with an image of male genitalia that supposedly belonged to Seto on Aug. 12 last year, according to the prefectural police. The image — believed to have been copied from the internet — was made publicly accessible, thereby damaging Seto’s reputation.

Upon investigation, Kashiramoto admitted to posting the screenshot, according to the police.

Kashiramoto and Seto do not know each other, the police said.

In response to the spread of such images, Seto’s representatives posted a statement on X in August last year, condemning them as “baseless rumors and malicious fabrications, which are regrettable and cannot be overlooked.” They also reported to the prefectural police.

Following Wednesday’s development, the representatives released a comment, saying they hope that the arrest will help deter online harassment cases.

In September 2020, a weekly magazine published an article on Seto regarding a scandal involving a woman. Seto immediately apologized and resigned as captain of the Tokyo Olympic swimming team. The Japan Swimming Federation also suspended him from activities for the remainder of the year.

However, a flood of articles claiming to be related to the scandal continued to be published online. At least nearly 30 articles were published within just a few days. According to people close to the matter, many of these articles were made up, but they went viral on social media.