May 20, 2024

The Johnny & Associates talent agency in Japan is to dissolve following scandal caused by the acts of sexual abuse conducted by the group’s late founder Johnny Kitagawa.

The company announced on Monday that it will break itself into two parts – one to be called Smile-Up, entirely devoted to compensating victims – the other as a talent agency operating with a new name, that has yet to be decided.

The group began to take action last month following two damning investigations that found that Kitagawa’s abuse had been hugely extensive and continued for years and that the company and Japanese media had ignored, if not covered it up.

On Monday it said that some 325 victims had come forward to claim compensation.

In a statement by Fujishima read out in her absence, the former chief executive, who owns 100% of the agency, said it was her duty as Kitagawa’s kin to put an end to Johnny & Associates. “I want to remove all traces of Johnny Kitagawa from this world,” her statement said.

The group initially took only a cautious approach to the revelations that were brought to the surface again by a BBC documentary this year. But following the two investigations, the group said that it accepted the abuses committed by Kitagawa, who died in 2019, as factual.

Last month, the group’s president Julie Fujishima said that she would resign, that a compensation committee would be established and that the group would forgo a portion of its fee income. But these moves appear not to have been enough to stem the flow of bad publicity and corporate client resignations.

More to follow

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