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Japanese comedian Miyasako's contract cut over 'antisocial group' scandal

Hiroyuki Miyasako (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Japanese entertainment company Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings Co. has announced that it has severed its contract with Hiroyuki Miyasako, one of several comedians suspended for receiving money to appear at a party arranged by "an antisocial group."

Miyasako, 49, earlier told the talent agency of his intention to take responsibility and retire from show business over his attendance at the party, held at a hotel in Tokyo by a fraud ring in December 2014.

A photo of him accompanying an individual convicted of gold theft appeared in the weekly magazine "Friday" released on July 19, and his response has been drawing attention.

Miyasako, a member of the comedy duo "Ameagari Kesshitai," and other entertainers belonging to Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings Co. had received such work not via the company. The comedians had initially said they did not know the party was organized by an antisocial organization and denied receiving any money for their appearances, but later admitted to receiving the money and were suspended.

The 49-year-old had received 1 million yen for appearing at the event. He has already amended his tax returns to include the remuneration as taxable income and donated part of the money to a public interest group.

In regards to the comedians' recent situation, Yoshimoto Kogyo Holdings Chairman Hiroshi Osaki told the Mainichi Shimbun, "They come to the company every day and first think about it (the matter) on their own, then think about it with their manager after making a report and finally come together to think about it as a group. This process is repeated."

Osaki had also explained that Miyasako and others were "to decide by themselves" on the length of their suspensions and whether to stay on or step down as entertainers. "The company will think together with them, so we can help them decide on their own," Osaki had said.

(Japanese original by Masakazu Yui, Digital News Center)

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