Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa still has not held a press conference despite the indictment… “What the baseball team wants to protect more than Yamakawa”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Seibu’s Hotaka Yamakawa still has not held a press conference despite the indictment… “What the baseball team wants to protect more than Yamakawa”.

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Hotaka Yamakawa of the Saitama Seibu Lions was not charged with forcible sexual intercourse with a woman. However, there is still a possibility that the case will be brought to a civil court depending on how the woman reacts (Photo: Yasuko Sakaguchi)

On August 29, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office dropped the charges against Hotaka Yamakawa, 31, an infielder for the Seibu Lions, who was referred to prosecutors in May on suspicion of forcible sexual intercourse with a female acquaintance.

The case was revealed by Bunshun Online on May 11. Yamakawa is alleged to have sexually assaulted a female acquaintance in her 20s at a hotel in Minato Ward, Tokyo, last November. The woman, who was roughly treated, bled and filed a damage report because she felt punished by Yamakawa.

Yamakawa, on the other hand, admitted to having a male-female relationship with the woman, but strongly denied the reported “forcibly” part. On May 12, the day after the incident was reported, Seibu gave him a vague reason, saying that he had to “make a comprehensive judgment and adjust his condition.” Since then, he has been treated as a member of the third rehabilitation team, and Yamakawa has spent his days working out at the farm facility.

At the July owners’ meeting, Seibu’s owner Takashi Goto (74) stated, “We will deal with Yamakawa after the prosecutor’s decision is made,” and the team is now at the stage where it can consider Yamakawa’s treatment in concrete terms. The team was in last place as of August 31, and the team and its fans would like Yamakawa to return to the field as soon as possible and regain the feeling of being able to play a game for the first team. However, the baseball team has been slow to act. On August 29, when the news of the indictment broke, a Seibu team official stated, “We learned about it from the news.

We also learned about it through the news report, so we are in the process of confirming the facts. We have not been told anything about the future prospects (by the team executives) at this point.

The team officials added, “We also learned of the incident from the news report,

I don’t think we can say that he will return to competition immediately after the indictment is dropped. This case has betrayed the expectations of fans and caused considerable trouble for sponsors. The baseball team is taking it very seriously that he was sent to the police for hurting a woman.

A reporter from the Pacific League’s Yu-Gun revealed, “The incident was reported in May.

Immediately after the incident was reported in May, Yamakawa explained to the team what had happened with the woman, but the content of his explanation was quite different from what the woman had said in the media. Yamakawa himself wanted to explain in public right away, at a time when he was forced to make adjustments in the third army.

Now that Yamakawa has been indicted and is in a position to make an explanation, it would not be surprising if a press conference was held. …… When I asked if (Yamakawa) would hold a press conference if he was in a situation where he could make an explanation before the decision to not prosecute was made, the baseball team wasn’t necessarily positive about holding a press conference. I realized then that the baseball team was not going to fully protect Yamakawa.

Why is the Seibu team being more cautious than people think? Although Yamakawa was not prosecuted, he and the woman have not yet reached a settlement, and there is still a possibility that the woman will appeal the decision to the Public Prosecutors’ Office or file a civil suit for damages.

If they appeal to the Public Prosecutors’ Office, it will take several months, not weeks, to reach a decision,” said a lawyer working for a Tokyo-based law firm.

A lawyer at a Tokyo-based law firm said, “If a complaint is filed with the prosecutors’ office, it will not be a matter of weeks.

The lawyer working for a Tokyo-based law firm said, “Depending on what kind of action the woman takes in the future, the case may not be completely closed yet, and we will have to take a long view. Right now, after the Seibu team takes a position to fully defend Yamakawa in this situation, there is a possibility that she may be prosecuted again, which is not zero at all.

Seibu Lions is one of the group companies belonging to “Seibu Holdings Co. If the team were to be prosecuted by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the team must think that the damage to the image of the entire Holdings would be immeasurable. The damage to the team’s image would be more painful than the fact that the team is currently in last place.

In 2007, Seibu was found to have improperly paid money to amateur players during its previous scouting activities, and was stripped of its right to select the top two players in that year’s high school draft, paying a fine of 30 million yen. Since this was the first disgraceful incident since the draft conference began, we have been sensitive to compliance violations ever since. The team that took Yamakawa under their wing and raised him to become the home run king would want to protect him at all costs if he had reached a settlement with the woman. However, in order to protect something “bigger,” they may have to distance themselves from Yamakawa. In any case, the cost of what Yamakawa has done to the woman is too great.

  • PHOTO Yasuko Sakaguchi

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