Tokyo prosecutors on Tuesday decided not to indict Hotaka Yamakawa, a member of Japan’s 2023 World Baseball Classic-winning team, due to insufficient evidence over an allegation of rape.
In May, the 31-year-old Seibu Lions first baseman, a three-time Pacific League home run leader, was referred to prosecutors for allegedly raping a female acquaintance at a Tokyo hotel last November.
Yamakawa was removed from the team on May 12, a day after weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported in its online edition that he had assaulted a woman in her 20s. The woman had filed a damage report to police.
In referring Yamakawa, also the 2018 Pacific League MVP, to prosecutors on suspicion of forcible sexual intercourse, the police said they would leave the final decision on whether he should be indicted to the prosecutors.
“The club has confirmed the news reports, but we are still pursuing the facts,” the Lions said in a statement.
Nippon Professional Baseball’s secretary-general Atsushi Ihara said, “We are likely to leave this matter to the club.”