UN report expresses 'profound alarm' about ex-Johnny & Associates scandals

A working group of the UN Human Rights Council has expressed its profound alarm about sexual abuse allegations involving the late founder of Japanese talent agency previously known as Johnny & Associates.

The Working Group on Business and Human Rights has released a report based on the findings of its first survey conducted in Japan between July and August of last year. The report includes proposals and recommendation for the Japanese government and businesses.

The report refers to the sexual abuse scandals involving the agency's late founder, Johnny Kitagawa.

It says the working group "remains profoundly alarmed by allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving several hundred talents signed with Johnny and Associates."

The document also notes that "media companies in Japan have been implicated in covering up such scandals for decades."

The working group points to the importance of the media carefully considering the human rights implications of disengagement and exercising leverage.

The report says the working group acknowledges the efforts of the firm, now named Smile-Up, to start paying compensation to victims who accepted the offers of monetary compensation.

However, the document says, "This is still a long way from meeting the needs of the victims who have requested timely remediation." The working group points out other issues regarding victims' mental care support and costs involving compensation.

Overall, the report recommends that the Japanese government take concrete measures to tackle human rights challenges. It says there is an urgent need to completely eliminate structures of inequality and discrimination against women, the elderly, children, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and other at-risk groups.

The report is expected to be submitted to the UN Human Rights Council next month.