On May 23, Hotaka Yamakawa, an infielder on the Japan national team for the World Baseball Classic (WBC), was arrested by the Azabu Police Station of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on suspicion of forcible sexual intercourse with a female acquaintance. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is expected to decide whether to indict or not indict him as early as June, but some junior players are watching the investigation with bated breath.
Some players who may be asked to testify in court
The “Bunshun Online” report came out on May 11. Yamakawa started the game against Lotte at the Beruna Dome on that day, batting fifth and playing first base, and hit a ball to left field in his first at-bat. After the game, Yamakawa commented, “There’s nothing I can say,” and the baseball world was strangely impressed, saying he had an iron mentality. On the following day, Seibu deleted Yamakawa’s entry from the roster, explaining that the reason was that he had been removed due to his condition after making an overall judgment. After that, Yamakawa has been training at Seibu’s farm facility as a rehabilitator. The reason for this was that the team could not suspend him due to a series of media reports.
The team has not explained the reason for Yamakawa’s elimination or the series of media reports, and the atmosphere on the team is said to be grim. Perhaps because of this, the team, which briefly took the top spot on April 22, has been on a downward spiral, and as of May 31, is one game behind the bottom-placed Rakuten, with a debt of “7”.
The reason for the team’s lack of enthusiasm is not so much the absence of Yamakawa, the team’s main gun and mood-maker, but rather the fact that “the young players who have been sucking the ‘good juices’ from Yamakawa’s side are spending their time in fear that the investigation will extend to them as well,” said one baseball industry insider. A source close to the baseball world told us this.
Not only the woman who got into trouble this time, but also certain junior players were in charge of introducing women to Yamakawa. Not only did he organize drinking parties, but after the party was over, he even acted as an intermediary by designating a hotel room at the destination and saying, ‘Mr. Yamakawa is in Room No. ●● and you should go alone. Yamakawa’s network was wide, extending not only to Seibu but also to other baseball teams,” said the aforementioned source.
As Yamakawa is being investigated by the police, some of the officials have already been interviewed. If Yamakawa is indicted, it is possible that the judicial investigation will become more extensive, and if Yamakawa is indicted, several players may be forced to testify in court.
The junior players continue to appear in games for the first and second teams. Depending on Yamakawa’s testimony, the judiciary may take action. The team’s atmosphere is understandably somber.