Japan’s TV Asahi has apologized to the family of a 12-year-old singer, who was left in a coma after inhaling helium for a TV show.
The girl, a member of the pop group 3B Junior, was taking part in a game that involved changing her voice when she fell unconscious on January 28.
It is thought she suffered an air embolism, restricting the blood supply to her brain. She has not been named.
According to Japan Today, as of February 5, the girl has regained consciousness.
However, she only has limited movement and cannot yet speak clearly.
A statement on 3B Junior’s official website said the band were “praying for a quick recovery” for their co-star.
Speaking to the press on February 4, executives from TV Asahi apologized to the girl and her family.
They said the canister from which she had inhaled the gas was marked “for adult use only”, but producers had overlooked the warning.
Managing director Toru Takeda said he had delayed announcing the accident to the public because he expected the singer to make an earlier recovery.
He only revealed the information after doctors saw signs of improvement, and he sought the blessing of the girl’s parents first.
TV Asahi added that an internal investigation would be conducted into the case. Local media have reported that police will also look into it.
Toru Takeda said the TV show, entitled 3B Junior Stardust Shoji, was originally scheduled for broadcast on February 24 but may now be discontinued.
Although inhaling helium from balloons is a common parlor trick, it can prove fatal.