Former Johnny & Associates admits sexual abuse by two staff members

A Japanese firm previously known as Johnny & Associates says two staff members at the former talent agency sexually abused clients.

Smile-Up. made the announcement on its website late Thursday, admitting for the first time there were multiple perpetrators, other than the late founder of Johnny & Associates, Johnny Kitagawa.

Kitagawa was found to have sexually abused his agency's talent. Smile-Up. is currently compensating victims.

The admission came after British public broadcaster BBC published an interview with Smile-Up. President Higashiyama Noriyuki.

A special investigative team of outside experts published a report last year and pointed out sexual abuse cases involving staff of Johnny & Associates.

Smile-Up. admitted to the allegations at a news conference, but did not reveal the number of perpetrators at that time.

The agency says it took strict measures against the two staff members by September. It says it has refrained from providing details of the abuse cases to protect the privacy of those involved.

Smile-Up. says it has not received any reports from people who say they were sexually abused by staff of the former agency. But the company says it will examine any claims and compensate the victims.