Japan Star Faces Possible Prosecution: This Week in Osaka June 28th to July 5th 2024

Each week, here at Osaka.com, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka.

Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.

Japan International Referred to Prosecutors Over Osaka Hotel Incident

Ito hasn’t played for Japan since this photo was taken at the Asian Cup in February.

Prosecutors will look closer at the case of Junya Ito, a player for the Japan international soccer team, over allegations of sexual assault. However, at this time, it remains unclear if Ito will be charged.

The case dates back to an incident at an Osaka hotel in June 2023. Ito dined with the two women, before going to his hotel room. That much is not in dispute. Where possible criminality lies is in what happened next. According to the two women, Ito proceeded to sexually assault them. Ito says that everything that happened between the three of them was entirely consensual. To that end he is also pursuing legal claims against the women for “filing a false criminal complaint”.

In any case, he has not played for Japan since the case became public in February this year.

Ito Unlikely to Play for Japan Again Anytime Soon

The Japan Football Association remains tight-lipped on the Ito case.

Whether or not criminal charges will follow, the reputational damage to Ito over the incident is substantial. Japan’s sports fans take a dim view of players who set a bad example for the kids who idolize them. Consensual or not, being caught in a compromising situation in a hotel room with two women is not a good look for a Japan International. The JFA have not commented on the case, and Ito’s lawyer said, he hopes to return to the national team soon.


As for his two alleged victims, they have not made any public comment. This is not unusual in cases like this however. When allegations are made against a celebrity, the accusers can often face harassment and intimidation from fans of the individual if their names become public. This may change in the future though, with Ito filing a 200 million yen lawsuit against the pair for loss of revenue due to reputational damage.

High Pay Draws Expo Staff from Across Japan

Despite his scary visage, lots of people are keen to help Myaku-Myaku make his Expo a success.

If ever an event needed a major PR win to boost its reputation, it’s the struggling Osaka 2025 international Expo. Well, figures released this week show the event is still popular with at least one group in Japan, potential employees. Offering salaries of 60% over and above the average hourly wage for Osaka has led to more than 16,000 applications for support roles at the Expo. Unfortunately, there are only 600 positions available, so there’s going to be a lot of disappointed applicants at the end. Nevertheless, one hopes that other businesses in Osaka may learn a lesson from this. If you want a higher caliber of candidates to work for you, pay them accordingly!

Of the roles offered, 300 are seen as “core” jobs. This means the staff will essentially work full time, 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for the duration of the event. The other 300 are part time assignments, where the staff will work anything from 1 to 4 days per week, for a minimum of 4 hours per day. The same hourly salary will apply across the board however.

Expo organizers expect to reach final hiring decisions by September, with interviews and screening already underway.

And Finally…

Emirates’ new Premium Economy seats

Travelling to and from Osaka became just that little bit easier this week. After a 4 year break, Dubai-based Emirates airlines recommenced daily flights from Osaka’s Kansai International Airport to Dubai. The flights not only serviced customers going to and from the UAE. Dubai also acts as a major hub for travelers heading onward to Europe or, in some cases, Africa.

The service originally halted in 2020. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic decimated passenger numbers as Japan shut its borders for an extended period. Numbers appear healthy for the next few months, despite a surge in prices, as passengers look to finally take that long awaited break.

Emirates hopes that the inclusion of a new “Premium Economy” option on this route will encourage passengers to spend that little bit extra in return for some additional comfort and space.

That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of this week in Osaka!


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