On Thursday, Watabe, 48, made his first public appearance since then at a press conference in which he was grilled by a group of women holding microphones.
Attired in a suit, Watabe did his best to show contrition and explain himself over the 100-minute event.
“I want to offer my deepest apology,” he said through tears streaming down behind a face shield.
Watabe is married to 32-year-old actress Nozomi Sasaki. Details of his infidelity appeared in the June 18 issue of Shukan Bunshun.
According to the magazine, Watabe regularly had sex with his mistress over an extended period, including inside multi-purpose toilets.
“Stupid, selfish and greedy”
Watabe said the content of the Bunshun article was generally correct. “You can’t get any lower than that,” he said.
When asked about paying his mistress 10,000 yen after each session, he said, “It was selfish. It wasn’t meant to be compensation. She was a woman who dealt with my stupid, selfish and greedy things.”
Watabe was also asked if he is addicted to sex. “I received comprehensive counseling,” he said. “The diagnosis was that I am not addicted to sex, though I am not fully convinced.”
About multi-purpose toilets, Watabe was reminded that they are used by the elderly and handicapped. “I have to apologize [to these groups of people] the most for any inconvenience I may have caused,” he said.
The comedian claims that he has not used such a toilet since the publication of the article. “I don’t think I have the right to use one,” he said.
“I don’t want a divorce”
In 2017, Watabe married Sasaki. She gave birth to a boy in September of the following year. His mistress told Bunshun that she met with Watabe about 30 times after he married Sasaki, who herself issued a public apology after the release of the article.
“No matter how much I apologize [to Sasaki], it doesn’t mean that it is enough,” he said. “I don’t want a divorce. I want to regain her trust and continue moving forward in our lives.”
He also acknowledged that he has made things difficult for Sasaki. “Even while being looked at with curious eyes, she smiles and behaves patiently, which makes her feel uncomfortable,” he said.
About his family, he said, “It’s an irreplaceable thing. Even though I took it for granted, I am just grateful to have my family.”
“Change my way of life”
Watabe is one half of the comedy duo Unjash, whose other member is Kazuya Kojima.
Regarding his work in the duo, Watabe said, “I was told that I was annoying a tremendous number of people and that I had to change my way of life and my way of thinking.”
He added, “[Due to my actions], I made innocent people bow their heads and shed tears. It was painful, and I am filled with feelings of regret.”
Near the end of the press conference, Watabe said that he has lost up to eight kilograms since June.
On June 9, Watabe announced that he was halting his appearances on eight television programs, including “King’s Brunch” on TBS and “Love Music” on Fuji Television. However, he is expected to resume television appearances this month.
“I want to start over,” he said in closing. “I want to reflect on my way of life and what I have done.”