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Thursday, June 21, 2012
Giants' Hara blackmailed over 1988 affair
By AYAKO MIE
Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara paid ¥100 million to two men blackmailing him over an extramarital affair he had in 1988, the baseball team admitted Wednesday.
In its issue that hits newsstands Thursday, the Weekly Shukan Bunshun will report that the two men are former yakuza.
The Giants organization, holding a news conference a day before the article was due to go public, denied the perpetrators were ex-yakuza, saying that police have told them the two men — who have since been arrested — are not part of the mob.
The Giants will sue the magazine's publisher for libel.
According to media reports, Bunshun was to report that the men blackmailed Hara about an affair he had with a woman in 1988 when he was a star player for the Giants. It was unclear when he paid the hush money.
Hara has had "no relationship" with anybody associated with the yakuza, a Giants spokeswoman told The Japan Times.
Hara apologized and confessed to paying the ¥100 million but never alerted the police.
"I apologize from my heart to the fans for this kind of situation," Hara said during Wednesday's practice, saying paying off the men was a "tough choice."
"With regards to the content (of the article) I have told the club everything. I want the club to deal with it."
Hara also accused the team's former general manager, Hidetoshi Kiyotake, who is embroiled in a legal battle with the Giants after being fired last year, of leaking information to the Shukan Bunshun.
Information from Kyodo added