Avex Founder Steps Down

Matsuura Masato (39) has stepped down as managing director of Avex, the company he established in 1988. He also plans to resign as vice president in October. The reason given was a difference in vision for the business side of operations. The avextrax record label became huge with a Eurobeat focus in the 1990s, producing such acts as Amuro Namie (photo, 27), Hamasaki Ayumi (25), Every Little Thing and TRF. But the company has seen sales decling in recent years, buoyed only by the contined popularity of a few top stars like Hamasaki and Amuro. Matsuura set up the company, then known as Avex DD, as a CD import business straight after he graduated from college. He released the first album, a Eurobeat compilation, in 1989 and set up avextrax in September of that year.

• Former badminton player Jinnai Kimiko (40) and her husband, former baseball player Kaneishi Akihito (43) have been the victims of crime again. Their luxury car was broken into on Friday night and a bag containing jewelry was stolen. Jinnai was stabbed by a burglar in their home, while they were still engaged, in 2001.