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Kiyohara to sue tabloid over drug claims

Shukan Bunshun Apr. 3
Shukan Bunshun Apr. 3

TOKYO (TR) – The management agency of Kazuhiro Kiyohara announced on Wednesday that it is preparing to sue publisher Bungeisha over what it claims are libelous articles documenting drug use by the former pro baseball star, reports Saneki Sports (Mar. 26).

In a fax sent to the media, the agency said it is seeking a published apology and 250 million yen in compensation for accusations of regular stimulant drug use by Kiyohara in the March 13 and April 3 issues of weekly tabloid Shukan Bunshun, which is published by Bungeisha.

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. 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.

The April 3 issue claims that Kiyohara has been a regular user of stimulant drugs since playing for the Yomiuri Giants.

“These are acts of defamation that are inexcusable,” a statement from the agency said, “and we are now planning legal action.”

Over his 22-year career, Kiyohara established himself as one of Nippon Professional 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 Giants and Orix Blue Wave, Kiyohara ended his career with 525 home runs.

In the statement, Kiyohara apologized to his fans for causing concern. “With strong determination, I will fight to the end,” the former slugger is quoted.