Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa, who has been charged with a crime, will not be prosecuted. Information on “countersuit against a woman acquaintance of the other party” was being planned behind the scenes. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa, who has been charged with a crime, will not be prosecuted. Information on “countersuit against a woman acquaintance of the other party” was being planned behind the scenes.

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Hotaka Yamakawa at the moment he hit a sayonara home run last season. Even if the case is settled with an indictment, a new “storm” is likely to blow up (Photo: Jiji Press)

Hotaka Yamakawa, 31, an infielder for the Seibu baseball team, has been charged with forcible sexual intercourse with a female acquaintance. Two months have passed since the incident was reported by “Bunshun Online” on the 11th of this month. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office will likely decide whether to indict or not by the end of the month, but legal experts are increasingly confident that the indictment will be dropped. If the indictment is dropped, Yamakawa could return to the game, but in that case, he will have 17 days to obtain free agent rights in Japan, and he will be transferred to that team, which has been rumored for some time.

Yamakawa’s registration was cancelled on May 12, the day after the incident was reported. For some vague reason, “the decision was based on a comprehensive assessment of his condition and other factors,” and since then he has been working out at a farm facility as part of the third team’s rehabilitation squad. A lawyer offered the following opinion on the matter: “It has been about a month and a half since May 23, when he was referred to the Azabu Police Station of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

The fact that no decision has been made yet probably means that the prosecutors are making up reasons not to prosecute. If it were an indictment, the conclusion would have been reached long ago. If the reasons for not filing an indictment are not written down thoroughly, it will take a long time to file a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Examination Board against the indictment. Naturally, this is a situation that the prosecutors would surely like to avoid. It would not be surprising if it took the entire month to file a complaint.

But it was not just a procedural issue; Yamakawa was about to make a move against a female acquaintance who was suspected of having had forced sexual intercourse with him. A Seibu reporter for a sports newspaper revealed, “Yamakawa is convinced that an indictment will not be filed.

Yamakawa, who is convinced that he will not be prosecuted, was going to file a countersuit against the woman acquaintance who is being sued this time, but the team stopped him from doing so and he gave up the idea. It is said that Yamakawa has evidence to prove that the sexual act was not forced.

The same reporter continued, “Yamakawa is a member of the Seibu baseball team.

Yamakawa has entrusted the case to a lawyer of his own choosing, not to a lawyer appointed by the Seibu team. The team wanted to settle the case by admitting the other party’s allegations, but Yamakawa wanted to stick to his claim that he had consensual sexual intercourse with the woman, so he chose his own lawyer.

If Yamakawa is not indicted, what stance is Seibu likely to take? A veteran professional baseball reporter analyzed the situation as follows.

In 2007, Seibu was found to have improperly paid money to amateur players during its scouting activities, and was stripped of the right to select the top two players in that year’s high school draft. Since then, the team has taken a tough stance against player noncompliance.

Applied to Yamakawa this time, some thought that even an indictment would set the trend for Yamakawa to leave the team, but an indictment would mean that the fact of forced sexual intercourse was not recognized. Moreover, if the baseball team supports Yamakawa’s consistent assertion that he had an agreement with them, there would be no reason to unilaterally dismiss him, so there would be no need to keep him “salted” in the farm if he can return to his normal state of health. In the meantime, if Yamakawa is able to return to a state of near-perfect health, there is no need to “salt” him in the farm. If the decision not to dismiss him is made by the end of July, Yamakawa is expected to return to the farm in mid- to late-August.

In that case, it would be possible for Yamakawa to obtain his domestic FA rights with 17 days left in the season, and his long-discussed FA move to SoftBank would be rekindled. At last year’s All-Star game, the sound of the main players of a certain team gossiping with each other, “Agoo, he’s going to Softbank! was uploaded to the official YouTube page of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization (NPBO). A reporter for Seibu revealed, “Yamakawa was not the only one who was upset by the incident.

Yamakawa seems to be aware of the trouble he is causing the team and its sponsors, but at the same time, he seems to be growing distrustful of the team, which did not believe in what he was saying and did not try to protect him. One piece of evidence of this is that he chose his own lawyer instead of the one provided by the baseball team.”

Even if the case is settled with an indictment, it seems likely that another storm is brewing.

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