A Tokyo District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by an unnamed talent agency against a 23-year-old former J-pop idol group member.
In April 2012, the woman signed a contract with the company to become a member of an idol group. According to Yahoo News Japan (via RocketNews24), one of the stipulations of the contract stated: “If performers are found to be dating a fan, they will be sued for damages.”
In December 2013, the woman entered into a relationship with a male fan. By July 2014, the woman had quit the idol group and was not showing up to scheduled performances.
When the company discovered their relationship, they filed a lawsuit against the former idol and her boyfriend for 9.9 million yen ($84,212) for violating her agreement and allegedly causing business damages.
Judge Hara, who presided over the case, stated that he could see why the talent agency filed the lawsuit.
“Fans desire integrity in idols, and as such, prohibiting romantic relationships, from the management’s perspective, has a certain amount of rationality,” he said.
Hara ruled in favor of the defendant, however.
“The enrichment of one’s life that comes from association with the opposite sex is covered under the right of self-determination,” he said in his final statement. “Association with the opposite sex is part of the pursuit of happiness. Even taking into account the unique circumstances of being an idol, prohibiting such associations is going too far.”
Hara said, however, that if it was proven that the women had gotten into a relationship with the intention to hurt the company, he would have ruled in favor of the plaintiff.