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Japanese Comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto Sues Publisher over Sex Scandal Report

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Hitoshi Matsumoto

TOKYO, Jan. 23 (Jiji Press) — Popular Japanese comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto has sued a magazine publisher over a report about what he says are “groundless” sexual assault allegations against him, his lawyer said.

Matsumoto filed the lawsuit with Tokyo District Court against Bungeishunju Ltd., the publisher of the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun, demanding damages and a correction to restore his reputation.

The lawyer said Monday that there is “no truth to sexual acts or coercion as described in the report” and that a clear argument will be made in court.

The magazine publisher said in a comment on its website that it is fully confident about the accuracy of the report and is carefully gathering more allegations against Matsumoto.

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

Entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo said earlier this month that Matsumoto will suspend his activities as a performer for the time being to focus on litigation.