Johnny & Associates to hold first news conference about alleged sexual abuse

Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates will speak to reporters on Thursday in Tokyo for the first time about allegations of sexual abuse by its late founder and former president, Johnny Kitagawa.

A number of men have come forward recently who say Kitagawa sexually abused them when they were minors. Kitagawa died in 2019.

The planned news conference comes after the release on August 29 of a report by an independent team of experts over the matter. The report concluded that Kitagawa for years sexually abused a large number of boys, mostly backup dancers known as Johnny's Juniors, who were waiting to make their debuts.

The probe also recommends the agency acknowledge and apologize for the abuse by Kitagawa, and begin talks with the victims. It also suggests the firm immediately set up a program to work toward compensation.

Attention is now focused on whether the agency will admit to the sexual abuse allegations at the news conference, and on the details of a relief plan it will propose for the alleged victims.

Another topic generating interest is whether the agency's current president, Julie K. Fujishima, will resign. The report proposes that she do so as part of steps to rid the agency of the ill-effects of the family-run business and make a new start. Fujishima is a niece of Kitagawa.