TOKYO — In a recent investigation, a team has deemed the sexual assault allegations against the late founder of a prominent talent agency for boy bands to be credible. The team is now calling for compensation to be provided to the victims and for the current chief executive to step down.
Over the course of three months, the investigative panel interviewed 23 victims and determined that Johnny Kitagawa had been sexually assaulting and abusing boys as early as the 1950s. The investigation revealed that several hundred individuals had been targeted by Kitagawa.
As a result, the panel insists that Johnny & Associates issue an apology and implement stricter compliance measures while also educating its members about human rights. Furthermore, Julie Keiko Fujishima, the chief executive, is expected to resign for her failure to take action over the years. It is worth noting that Kitagawa passed away in 2019 and was never formally charged.
Makoto Hayashi, the leader of the investigative team, expressed his concern over the company’s cover-up, which allowed the sexual abuse to persist unchecked for such a significant duration. Hayashi highlighted that ample opportunities to address the issue were missed.
This case involving Johnny’s, as the Tokyo-based company is known, has shed light on Japan’s inadequate awareness surrounding rape, sexual harassment, and human rights. Public sentiment has often been unsympathetic towards individuals who have been victimized by sexual predators.
So far, approximately a dozen men have bravely come forward in recent months to share their accounts of sexual abuse by Kitagawa during their teenage years. The report suggests that more individuals are likely to come forward in the future.
Investigation into Abuse Allegations at Johnny’s Entertainment
Fujishima, the president of Johnny’s Entertainment, released a brief video expressing her apologies for the “disappointment and worries” caused by the recent abuse scandal. It remains uncertain whether she will step down from her position.
Abuse rumors surrounding Johnny’s Entertainment have circulated over the years, with several tell-all books shedding light on the situation. Surprisingly, Japan’s mainstream media has remained silent on the issue.
This year, serious questions regarding the abuse came to the forefront after BBC News aired a special segment featuring individuals claiming to be victims of Kitagawa, a prominent figure at Johnny’s Entertainment.
Another significant turning point occurred when the U.N. Working Group on Business and Human Rights strongly urged the Japanese government to take action. Additionally, they accused Japan’s mainstream media of engaging in a cover-up.
The allegations revealed that Kitagawa would invite aspiring singers and dancers, many of whom were children, to his luxurious residence. The panel was told that when Kitagawa instructed someone to go to bed early, it was understood to be their turn for abuse.
According to the report, Kitagawa raped these young boys when they were around 14 or 15 years old and would provide them with 10,000 yen (approximately $100) bills afterward. The victims felt coerced into complying out of fear of penalties if they refused.
In light of these disturbing revelations, the report encourages more victims to come forward. It promises protection of privacy and states that no physical evidence of the sexual attacks will be required.
The victims who have bravely spoken out have suffered immense trauma and have found it difficult to confide in anyone, including their own families. They continue to battle with flashbacks and depression even today.