Japan court rules dating ban on pop idol 'goes too far': report

เผยแพร่:   โดย: MGR Online

Tokyo, Tokyo, JAPAN: (FILES) This file photo taken on May 21, 2011 shows visiting Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (L) shaking hands with Japanese pop group SMAP members (R to L) Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori as they perform before Wen at a Tokyo hotel. Fans of ageing Japanese boyband SMAP heaved a sigh of relief after the mostly 40-something heartthrobs announced on late night television on January 18 that they were committed to staying together after their agent said they were mulling a breakup. AFP PHOTO/Files/Yoshikazu Tsuno

January 19, 2016
TOKYO (AFP) - A former female pop star, who was sued by her talent agency for dating a fan, won a legal battle this week after a court ruled that the suit threatened her "freedom to pursue happiness".

The lawsuit was filed by her talent agency and sought 9.9 million yen ($84,300) in damages against the 23-year-old pop "idol", who started dating her male fan, the Asahi Shimbun reported Tuesday.

The agency reportedly took legal action against the star in 2014 after she threatened to quit and subsequently failed to appear at a scheduled show.

The singer, whose name is not disclosed, in 2012 signed a contract that stated the agency would demand compensation if she dated a fan, according to the paper.

But Katsuya Hara, presiding judge for the case heard at Tokyo District Court, rejected the damage claim on Monday.

"We have to admit that forbidding pop idols to date by claiming compensation for damage goes too far," he said according to public broadcaster NHK.

"Dating is a right that is decided by oneself in order to further enrich one's life," he said.

"It's part of the freedom to pursue happiness."

In Japan, teenage pop idols are usually required to maintain a clean image and thus ordered to refrain from dating.

The same court in September had reportedly ordered a different teenage pop idol to pay 650,000 yen in compensation for damaging her image by dating a man.

In 2013, a starlet of the all-female group AKB48 shaved her head and issued a tearful YouTube apology after spending the night with a man.

According to a group rule, members are allowed to have "one-sided romantic feelings" for a boy but can never progress beyond hinting at their crush -- and must never disabuse their legions of male fans that they might one day stand a chance with their fantasy woman.