A high ranking official in SKE48‘s agency Kabushikigaisha Zest has been arrested on charges of child prostitution.
According to the Asahi Shimbun via Sports Seoul, 58 year old Kazuya Ebine was arrested for violating Japan’s child pornography law. According to the police report, Kazuya Ebine is suspected of having two underage girls (15 and 17 years old) commit sexual acts in his car in Machida, Tokyo back on November 23, 2019. In exchange for the sexual acts, he paid them ¥20,000 Yen ($190.71 USD).
Police also stated that Kazuya Ebine got close to the girls through social media, after responding to a post made by one of the girls, who was asking for advice. When he was arrested, he denied the charges, stating that he only let the girls in his car because they were legally adults (18 years old). However, Zest announced the same day the news was released that they would remove Kazuya Ebine from his executive position.
SKE48 is one of many groups under the AKB48 group label. They were the first sister group to the main group, AKB48, and are based in Nagoya. Two members from SKE48, Matsui Jurina and Yuka Asai, competed on Produce 48.