The weekly tabloid magazine Shukan Bunshun has been facing fierce criticism for its report alleging that Tetsuya Komuro was having an affair.
On January 19, Komuro decided to retire from the music industry due to the report and the commotion surrounding it. Social media has been abuzz ever since.
A post on Shukan Bunshun's Twitter account has amassed over 4,400 responses, most of which were negative and critical of the publication. A typical twitter post received less than 10 comments.
"If you're saying that adultery is unethical, then writing this article your form of "adultery". Next time, please at least try to interview people thoroughly," one user said.
Others have called for a boycott of the publication, citing a belief that it was wrong for the magazine to report on an alleged affair was wrong. More radical users called for the discontinuation of the magazine all together.
Included in the voices against Shukan Bunshun were those whose affairs had been reported by the magazine in the past. Kensuke Miyazaki, a former member of the House of Representatives who stepped down after his affair was exposed by the magazine, wrote a blog post in response to the Komuro article.
"Allegations reported in weekly magazines are just allegations. Until those reports are running from morning until evening on TV, you don't feel like those allegations are facts. There have been many astounding weekly magazine articles, but it's quickly shot down if TV stations aren't picking it up," he said.
While most comments were negative, social commentators pointed out the sexism rooted in those responses. People are more tolerant of men having affairs than women doing the same thing.
When Enon Kawatani and Becky's affair was exposed by the magazine, people called for the end of Becky's career, while Kawatani's ability to continue his work was mostly preserved. Now, people are calling for the end of Shukan Bunshun, while expressing support for Komuro.
Other commentators argue that people are defending Komuro because of his status as a beloved public figure. People don't want to believe that someone they admired could do something wrong, but that doesn't make the magazine's report any less truthful.
For their part, the reporters involved with the Kumuro affair story have stated that they did not intend on bringing down the beloved producer. His decision to retire came as a surprise to those involved in the article. However, they remain confident that its contents are correct, and that publishing it was the right decision.