About three weeks ago, disturbing news broke that Ebine Kazuya, a member of the board of directors for Zest, was arrested for allegedly paying two underaged girls for sex. That understandably immediately set off alarms for fans of SKE48, who is under the company.
Kanagawa Prefectural Police have arrested the director of the management company for idol group SKE48 for allegedly paying two girls for sex, reports Jiji Press (July 28). Early on November 23, 2019, Kazuya Ebine, the 58-year-old director of Zest, allegedly paid a total of 5,000 yen to the girls, then aged 15 and 17, to engage in acts deemed obscene inside his vehicle while it was parked in Machida City. Upon his arrest on Tuesday on suspicion of violating the anti-child prostitution law on Tuesday, Ebine said he thought the girls were over 18. “I only gave the girls a ride,” the suspect was quoted by police in denying the allegations. According to police, Sekine got to know the girls through a social-networking service. On the site, one of the girls posted a message indicating that she was interested in a relationship based on enjo kosai, or compensated dating. Police launched an investigation after a member of a cyber patrol division saw the exchange online. In the exchange, the suspect offered to pay a total of 20,000 yen, police said.
For Zest’s part, they clarified that he had no interaction with the artists under the company as he was in charge of overseas business an immediately fired him.
Not sure what there is to do except hope that’s true regarding his lack of interaction with idols. I suppose one could hope that if he’s guilty of what he’s accused of that the police extend the investigation into him further, but it’s obviously difficult to have faith in that.