In February, the 46-year-old received treatment for drug use at a university hospital, according to an article appearing inside the March 13 edition of the tabloid, which hit newsstands on Thursday.
Last year, the former slugger was a patient at a metropolitan mental hospital for a one-week period due to medicinal poisoning, the same article said.
Kiyohara flatly denied the claims made by Shukan Bunshun.
When reached for comment by Sports Hochi, Kiyohara’s management agency also refused to acknowledge the accusations. “It is true that he was hospitalized but not due to drugs,” said a spokesperson.
Over his 22-year career, Kiyohara established himself as one of Nippon Pro Baseball’s greatest sluggers. In his first season with the Seibu Lions in 1986, he slugged 31 home runs and was awarded Rookie of the Year honors. After stints with the Yomiuri Giants and Orix Blue Wave, Kiyohara ended his career with 525 home runs.
Kiyohara’s management agency told Sports Hochi that they are planning a lawsuit for libel.