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Media & Entertainment

Yoshimoto scandal shakes Japanese media industry

President of biggest talent agency admits gagging comedians

Yoshimoto Kogyo President Akihiko Okamoto apologized to media on Monday for the company's recent problems. Two days earlier, Yoshitomo Kogyo comedians, Hiroyuki Miyasako, left, and Ryo Tamura, held a press conference to offer their side of the story. (Left photo by Kei Higuchi; right photo by Jiji)

TOKYO -- The head of Japan's largest entertainment group Yoshimoto Kogyo apologized on Monday for poor corporate governance and failing to look after the interests of its artistes, after admitting he warned comedians not to speak to media about the company's alleged ties to organized crime.

Yoshimoto's troubles came soon after problems surfaced at another Japanese talent agency Johnny’s & Associates. Earlier this month, the Fair Trade Commission censured Johnny's for allegedly pressuring television stations to keep three former members of popular boy band SMAP off the air allegedly to restrict their activities even though they have left the agency. 

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