Agency Retracts Decision To Cut Ties With Comedian

Agency retracts decision to cut ties with comedian

A major Japanese talent agency says it will retract a decision to terminate its contract with a popular comedian who attended a party hosted by a crime group and received money.

Yoshimoto Kogyo President Akihiko Okamoto held a news conference on Monday, his first since the scandal broke.

The agency last month suspended 11 comedians who attended the party, and later ended the contract with one of them, Hiroyuki Miyasako.

Miyasako and another suspended comedian, Ryo Tamura, held a news conference on Saturday without the agency's involvement.

They said the agency had rejected their request to offer a public apology. They also revealed the president warned them that if they spoke to reporters, he would fire all 11 of the comedians.

Okamoto apologized to the public for the scandal, as well as to Miyasako and Tamura. He said the agency has withdrawn the decision on Miyasako and will support him if he agrees to come back, and he expressed his wish to have talks with Tamura.

Okamoto described his remark about firing all the comedians as a kind of joke, saying it's regrettable that his humor was not understood.

Okamoto disclosed that he and the agency's chairman will take a 50-percent pay cut for one year as punishment. He also stressed the agency will work harder to ensure its members comply with the law.