Fans seek probe of alleged sexual abuse by late music mogul

A group of J-pop fans and supporters is asking talent agency Johnny & Associates to form an outside panel to investigate sexual misconduct allegations against its late president.

Representatives of the group said at a news conference Thursday that more than 16,000 people had signed an online petition supporting such a probe. They said they have mailed the petition to the agency.

Johnny Kitagawa, founder and former president of the agency, died in 2019, but was recently accused of misconduct in his career. Last month, a former performer who worked under the agency said at a news conference that he had been sexually abused by Kitagawa since he was 15 years old.

The petition called on the agency to sincerely listen to anyone who says they fell victim to Kitagawa's misconduct.

A member of the group said she wants the agency to take the matter sincerely so that fans can continue to support pop singers, or idols, working with Johnny & Associates.

The agency told NHK that it will make clear where it stands on this issue and how it plans to deal with it.