NEWS Idol Group Member Keiichiro Koyama to End 3-Week Hiatus for Drinking with Underage Girl

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Performer said that he has "had time to deeply reflect on his actions"

The Johnny & Associates agency (Johnny's) announced on Tuesday that Keiichiro Koyama from the four-member NEWS idol group has resumed his professional activities as of Wednesday. Koyama stated that he has had time to face himself and deeply reflect on his actions during his three-week hiatus. Johnny's said that the decision for him to continue activity was based on the varying opinions of everyone at the office.

The agency told Koyama (34) to take a hiatus from his professional activities beginning on June 7 after learning that he drank alcohol with an underage girl, and also "pressured others at the party to drink by cheering them on." The agency also "sternly reprimanded" fellow NEWS member Shigeaki Kato, who was also at the party when Koyama was drinking with the girl.

The agency said the girl was 19 years old at the time of the incident. Koyama claimed the girl said she was 20, which is the legal drinking age in Japan.

Johnny's recently required at least 20 or 30 of its affiliate performers to undergo "compliance training" to study basics of smartphone security, lessons on laws, and case studies on what kinds of situations may lead to violating laws. Koyama and Kato were reportedly attending special sessions with lawyers.

The NEWS group formed in 2003 with nine members, but took a hiatus in 2006 when two of its own members were accused of underage drinking in 2005 and 2006. The group has performed theme songs for the One Piece: Mega Mecha Soldier of Karakuri Castle film, the second season of The File of Young Kindaichi Returns, and for the live-action television series of Yasutaka Tsutsui's The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Toki o Kakeru Shōjo) novel.

The idol group released their latest single "BLUE" (pictured above right) on Wednesday.

Sources: Johnny's website, Oricon Music Store via Hachima Kikō

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