Johnny & Associates to hold news conference over sexual abuse allegations

The Japanese talent agency Johnny & Associates is set to hold a news conference on Thursday over allegations of sexual misconduct by its late founder and former president, Johnny Kitagawa.

In a video released in May, the current president, Julie K. Fujishima, said it would be difficult to determine whether the accusations by the victims are true because Kitagawa is deceased.

But a team of outside experts that investigated the allegations issued a report last week stating that Kitagawa had repeatedly sexually abused a number of boys over an extended period of time.

The team said that for the agency to start anew, Fujishima must acknowledge the allegations are true and offer a sincere apology.

It urged the agency to quickly begin discussing compensation with the victims and offer them a relief program.

At Thursday's news conference, the agency is expected to explain procedures for certifying individual victims and specific relief measures, such as the amount of compensation.

The team acknowledged that in a family-owned business it can be difficult to stop illegal acts due to close personal ties.

The team also said Fujishima, who is Kitagawa's niece, should step down.

The agency is expected to unveil its new management on Thursday.

The focus will be on who will serve as the new president, whether the agency's name will be changed and whether Fujishima will relinquish her shares in the company.