Told junior high student who wanted to run away he’d pick her up, and also “Bring your school uniform.”

On April 1, a junior high school student living in Tokyo posted on an Internet message board that she wanted to run away from home. She received a response from a 38-year-old man named Takahiro Akashi, who told her that he was a producer for idol singers.

“There are other girls who feel the same way you do,” Akashi told the 14-year-old girl. “If you don’t like you home, I’ll  come and get you,” he then told her, adding that she should make sure to bring her school uniform with her. He then met her at a local train station, where she got in his car and he drove her to a house in Niigata Prefecture.

When the girl’s parents noticed she was missing from their home, they filed a missing person report, and police investigators began scouring security camera footage, from which they were able to identify Akashi. On April 3, he drove the girl to the parking lot of a convenience store in Tokyo, where they parted ways. While at the house in Niigata, Akashi had the girl cook for him, but there are currently no allegations against him of physical or sexual assault.

Nevertheless, taking a 14-year-old away from family for a few days is still a criminal offense. On April 21, Akashi was spotted in the Tokyo neighborhood of Akihabara, this time in the company of a 19-year-old female (who, under Japanese law, is also a minor). He was placed under arrest on kidnapping charges, which he admitted to during questioning.

“I thought I’d support people who wanted to become idols,” Akashi told investigators, though it’s unclear how having the 14-year-old girl cook a couple of meals was supposed to set her on the path to stardom. There’s also the fact that his story about being an idol producer turned out to be a sham, as he has no set profession or even a fixed address, as the authorities are insinuating that he’s not the owner of the house he took the girl to in Niigata.

Getting scouted on the street by a talent agent has long been a daydream among Japanese youths who want to make it big in show business, and in the modern era being discovered online is a common variant aspiration. Still, this incident serves as a reminder that with so many legitimate talent agencies in Japan, you should take the claims of random individuals claiming to be scouts with a large grain of salt.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/Sankei Shimbun via Hachima Kiko. TBS News
Top image: Pakutaso