Johnny & Associates president's apology for alleged sexual abuse by late founder

The president of Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates has offered an apology over allegations of sexual misconduct by its late founder and former president.

Johnny Kitagawa died in 2019, but was recently accused of misconduct in his career. One accusation was lodged by a former J-pop idol in April. Musician Kauan Okamoto told reporters that he was abused by Kitagawa about 15 to 20 times from the age of 15.

In a video issued on Sunday, his successor Julie K. Fujishima said she would like to express a deep apology to those who say they are victims.

She also released a document explaining the agency's views on the matter and its responses.

Fujishima noted that it is not easy to confirm whether individual allegations are true or not as Kitagawa is dead. But she added the agency is taking it very seriously that there are those who say they were abused.

She also said the agency will fundamentally overhaul its management system by inviting outside directors, and will set up a consultation contact point by the end of the month under the guidance of experts including counselors and doctors.

Fujishima acknowledged her responsibility, saying she did not actively try to look into the matter although she was a director.

She added what she should do now is to squarely face the issue and carry out management reforms as well as ensuring compliance thoroughly within the company.