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A 12-year-old Japanese pop star fell into a coma after inhaling helium during the taping of a TV show in Tokyo. It is believed the young singer suffered an embolism, which restricted airflow to her brain.
The girl, who has gone unnamed as per Japanese press protocol for the coverage of minors, is a member of girl group 3B Junior, which is made up of 27 singers aged 10 to 16. She was taking part in a voice-changing gag when she reportedly passed out and was rushed to the hospital.
A statement on 3B Junior’s official website says the group is “praying for her quick recovery,” adding: “Our hearts hurt. We are so sorry about the accident.”
The incident took place on Jan. 28, but TV Asahi delayed making the news public because it expected the pop singer would recover quickly, managing director Toru Takeda told the press on Wednesday in Tokyo.
During the briefing, Toru and other Asahi executives made a formal apology to the girl and her family, stating that the helium canister used for the show was clearly marked “for adult use only,” but producers shrugged off the warning.
According to Japan’s Kyodo news agency, Tokyo Metropolitan Police are questioning TV Asahi staff and may file charges of professional negligence.
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