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Japanese Comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto to Halt Activities

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Hitoshi Matsumoto

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto will suspend his show business activities after a raft of media reports related to sexual assault allegations against him, entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo said Monday.

Last month, the Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine reported that Matsumoto, a member of popular comedy duo Downtown, had forced women into sexual acts in the past.

Yoshimoto Kogyo said that many news articles have been released about Matsumoto’s appearances on television since the magazine report.

Matsumoto has expressed his wish to “confront various articles and focus on litigation,” the company said.

He is worried that if he continues his entertainment activities, he will cause a lot of trouble and burden to many people concerned, according to Yoshimoto Kogyo.

He also thinks he will not be able to devote all his energy to comedy during the litigation, the company said, adding that he expressed his “strong” will to suspend his show business activities for the time being.

Yoshimoto Kogyo apologized for causing trouble and worries to broadcasters, fans and others concerned. Broadcasting companies can decide whether to air programs featuring Matsumoto that had already been recorded, the entertainment company said.

In response to the Shukan Bunshun report, Yoshimoto Kogyo had clearly denied the sexual assault allegations, saying that the report “significantly lowers the social evaluation of the personality and damages his reputation.” The company also said it will consider legal action.

“I’ll fight because (the allegations) are totally groundless,” Matsumoto said in a post on social media platform X on Monday.