Victims group speaks to reporters following Johnny & Associates news conference

A group of men who claim to have been sexually abused by the founder of Johnny & Associates spoke to reporters following a news conference by the talent agency on Thursday.

The agency's president, Fujishima Julie, admitted for the first time that the late Johnny Kitagawa had sexually abused minors over many years.

The group leader, Hiramoto Junya, said that what was most meaningful in the conference was Fujishima's appearance. He said it seemed to him that Fujishima spoke not from a prepared script, but with her own words.

Hiramoto said that the group needs to monitor how matters will progress, but he wants the agency to take into account the group's messages and requests.

Hiramoto also made a reference to remarks by the agency's new president Higashiyama Noriyuki that he thought sexual abuse allegations were just rumors. Hiramoto said he felt the remarks somewhat unacceptable.

The group's deputy leader, Ishimaru Shimon, said that he found the news conference to be poorly prepared, but meaningful as it responded to the three requests that the group had made, namely, admission, apology and remedy, and paved a way toward the future.

He raised a question about the new president, who is the agency's talent. Ishimaru said that he wonders whether the agency has risk management capability, because it puts a talent, who does not have enough experience of business management, to stand in position to take the heat. He said governance is likely not working at the agency.