Japan's Takarazuka Revue admits actor who died was harassed, apologizes

Japanese musical theater company Takarazuka Revue has admitted that one of its performers who died last year was harassed, and apologized to her bereaved family.

Shimada Yasuo, president of Takarazuka Revue's parent company, offered sincere condolences and a deep apology to the family at a news conference on Thursday.

The member of the all-female theater company was found dead in the city of Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, in a suspected suicide last September. She was 25.

Her family sought an apology and compensation, saying she was harassed by senior members and company officials. But in November the company said a probe it conducted could not confirm that.

Shimada said the theater company's management had lacked understanding and consideration for members' activities for many years. The president also said that as a result, it caused the woman who died to work long hours and put an excessive burden on her. He said it also caused various actions that constituted power harassment within the theater.

He said the theater company bears full responsibility and admits that it failed to fulfill its duty to care for the woman's safety.

At a separate news conference, the lawyers for the family said the theater and its operator have agreed to pay compensation to settle the case.

The lawyers said it was significant that Takarazuka Revue, which had denied there was power harassment, clearly admitted many cases occurred and apologized to the family.

They said it will be an important first step for the theater to "reform itself by reviewing its bad tradition."