Johnny & Associates to ask outside experts to look into sexual abuse scandal

Major Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates has announced remedial steps following allegations that its late founder had sexually abused young male talents.

Performers who once belonged to the agency have recently come forward with allegations against former president Johnny Kitagawa, who died in 2019.

Current president Julie K. Fujishima issued a video-taped apology earlier this month. She said the agency was working on a response.

The company announced the details on Friday. They include setting up a contact point on May 31 for the alleged victims who have now left the agency, so they can consult mental health doctors and counsellors while protecting their privacy.

The company will also launch a panel of outside experts, led by a former top public prosecutor, to root out the problems and draw up steps to prevent a recurrence.

Johnny & Associates says the scandal has exposed problems with the company's governance. It says "there will be no future" for the agency, unless it faces up to the problems by asking multiple experts to study them.

The company says it also plans to appoint three external directors in order to strengthen legal compliance and to make sure the measures it promised are carried out.