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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Takahata Atsuko meets the media during press conference regarding her son's arrest and the aftermath

This is a compilation of translated articles on 25th and 26th August when Takahata Atsuko visited her son at the police station for the first time after his arrest and when she held the press conference on the following day. In addition, there is also information about the implications of this case on the Takahatas in terms of their careers. As this is a rather long post, I will try to write everything in point form as much as I can so that it's easier to read.

- Takahata Atsuko met her son Yuta for the first time at Maebashi Police Station in Gunma Prefecture on 25 August since his arrest for alleged rape leading to assault two days earlier. At 8,30am that day, Takahata Atsuko was dressed in black and appeared before the 30-or-so members of the media and apologised for not being able to talk much today as she had not met Yuta yet. She promised to address their questions on the following day during the press conference before bowing to the reporters and headed inside the police station. About 1.5 hours later at 9.55am, Takahata left the police station through the back exit.

- The movie "L" which is due to be shown this autumn and features Takahata Yuta in its cast, will have to re-shoot some scenes with another actor. However, due to scheduling conflicts with other members of the cast, the movie's release will be delayed.

- Takahata Yuta's CM for real estate rental company Able has ended its run on TV and will be replaced with another CM from next week. Promotional materials and posters used at their shops are being removed gradually. Although their contract runs till the end of the year, the company's PR department has commented that it will be difficult to continue with the deal.

- Witness accounts give an idea of what happened the night before the incident. Takahata Yuta was said to have gone to an onsen at Maebashi City after filming wrapped up for the day on 22 August and went to another two restaurants with the cast and crew before returning to the hotel. According to an employee at the first restaurant they went to, they didn't get the impression that he was very intoxicated by the time he left.

- As a result of what happened to her son, the after-effects are already showing in Takahata Atsuko's career. She was one of the four guests on the NTV variety show "Merengue no Kimochi" shown on 27 August but the scenes where she appeared in were cut. Out of the four CM deals she holds, Kao has already decided to stop the airing of her CMs even though they acknowledged that this was not her problem. However, since the situation is still developing, they will adopt a wait-and-see attitude. As for the other companies, they are observing the response after her press conference before deciding what to do.

- Takahata Atsuko held her press conference at 9am on 26 August which was actually brought forward from the original scheduled time of noon. The press conference was scheduled for 40 minutes only but she expressed her wish to answer all questions so the entire session lasted 65 minutes.There was no chair and only a microphone stand at the centre of the hall thus she remained standing throughout. At the beginning, she bowed deeply to the media for about 7 seconds and apologised to everyone for causing them inconvenience and worry. In particular, she cited the victim and those affected by the cancellation of her son's jobs and stated that she found it hard to find suitable words to apologise to them. Although Takahata was said to be unable to sleep since the incident happened, she tried to put up a brave front and said that she is fine. However, she was observed to have stumbled when she made her exit and was supported by staff members as she left.

- She recounted her 15-minute meeting with her son who is currently in custody at Maebashi Police Station where he kept apologising in tears and expressed concern and worry over the effects on his work and how it had affected the people who worked with him. When probed further if that were the only things he said, Takahata revealed hesitantly that he did talk about dying to repent but she scolded him for that idea and said that he should not have done this in the first place if he was prepared to die. She also stated that although people may take offence at what she said to her son, she revealed that she did say that she and his elder sister will continue to be his family members no matter what happens. There was a restriction banning them from asking any questions about the case during this meeting so she couldn't ask him anything regarding that.

- With regard to her stage play "Yukimaroge" which is due to be performed from September, Takahata Atsuko said that continuing with her work is her way of repenting for what happened. Especially considering that 10,000 people had already bought tickets to the play, there was no way that she could pull out of this play in which she has a leading role. The Tokyo run of the play will be from September to October while it will be performed at other locations nationwide until early December this year.

- When asked about her responsibility as a parent for what her son did, Takahata said that as a mother, she felt the responsibility to make amends. However, she felt that it was not sufficient because it is not something she alone can achieve. Although there are views that she shouldn't be responsible for what her son did since he is already an adult, she can't just brush it off like that and say that this has nothing to do with her. Last but not least, as she had become who she is today as a result of the support of everyone around her, she also needed to fulfill her responsibility as an actress in addition to that of a mother and human being so she felt especially torn and wasn't sure what she should do in future.

- When asked if there was any likelihood of her son returning to showbiz, Takahata denied that and said that this was something which shouldn't be done. She expressed thanks to everyone who had looked upon Yuta favourably up till now. However, she did wonder momentarily if Yuta had gone through a longer period of hard work and not tasted fame so quickly, it might have been better for his sake. Last but not least, she said that although she did not support Yuta actively in his entry into showbiz, she also did not express any resistance to the idea of them working together.

- As for whether she has met the victim, Takahata denied this and said that as investigations are going on, she is unable to meet the victim and apologise to her. However, when asked if there are any plans for a private settlement, Takahata said that this was something which shouldn't be discussed during the press conference.

- When asked about how she learnt of her son's arrest, she recounted that she was told to go to her agency around 3pm on 23 August after she was done with her work for the day. She wasn't able to meet her son until the 25th and had no idea what was going on other than reading the media reports.

- After the press conference, there was talk about how some of the reporters had asked totally irrelevant or nasty questions where they were heavily criticised for treating this like an interrogation. In particular, Omura Masaki from FujiTV's "Chokugeki Good!" was singled out for his insensitive and unrelated questions such as whether Takahata Yuta had introduced his girlfriend to his mother before, the number of girlfriends he had, when he started dating and if she knew about his sex preferences and habits. On social media such as Twitter, users attacked Omura for asking such meaningless questions and that it was stupid for him to ask about sex preferences and expect parents to know about this or talk about this with their children. By using the word "ne", he was also perceived as ridiculing Takahata during the press conference. Apparently, this is not the first time that Omura was criticised for what he said. He made an insensitive remark to a Japanese victim who had to cut off a leg due to the earthquake at New Zealand in 2011 by saying that the person could no longer play sports or do other things in the current condition.
Another question which was viewed to be quite insensitive was when Takahata was asked if her drama's co-star Takashima Reiko had any words of encouragement for her. Just last month, Takashima was caught in a fix when her ex-husband was caught for drug possession and consumption and Takahata had offered kind words for her co-star at that time.

Sources: Nikkansports 1 / Sanspo 1 / Yomiuri Hochi 1

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