Johnny & Associates Responds to Report of Abuse at NHK Studio

On the night of October 9, NHK aired a report saying that a man who is currently in his 30s was abused multiple times by Johnny & Associates founder Johnny Kitagawa in a bathroom at the network’s Shibuya studio. This happened in the fall of 2002 when he was a high school student and Johnnys’ Jr. who wanted to appear on the network’s Johnny’s music show “Shonen Club.” The sexual assault took place during a break during a rehearsal for the show.

After about five incidents of abuse over the course of few months, the victim refused, and was no longer called on by Johnny’s. All the abuse came as a shock to the victim, with him saying, “I have to endure this, or my dreams won’t come true.”

In response to this report, NHK said that they take this matter seriously, and that it can’t be overlooked. The network will continue to protect the safety and human rights of talents. NHK also said that they are reviewing “Shonen Club”, including changes to its name and content. A source close to the network hinted that the show, which has aired since April 2000, may end this year.

In response to the NHK’s report, Johnny & Associates released a statement. The company said that in regards to the fact-finding of sexual abuse by Kitagawa, they have left that in the hands of the Special Team for Recurrence Prevention and the Victim Relief Committee seeing as how they are third parties and Johnny’s is responsible for Kitagawa’s actions. That being said, Johnny & Associates is not aware of all of the details in regards to every case of abuse, so the company will not speak on them. This is in line with the company’s victim relief policy which was revealed at their October 2 press conference.

Johnny & Associates will continue to do its best to help victims in accordance with the recommendations of the Special Team for Recurrence Prevention. In regards to compensation, Chief Compliance Officer Yamada Masayuki has the Victim Relief Committee’s report and will proceed with compensating victims who agreed to the committee’s agreed upon amount.

The company also reaffirmed its stance that new company president Noriyuki Higashiyama was not involved in abuse. The company is fully cooperating with the Special Team for Recurrence Prevention and the Victim Relief Committee, who agree on this point about Higashiyama.

Johnny & Associates also expressed concern over information they have received that there are multiple incidents where a person is falsely using a victim’s testimony as their own. The company fears that compensation funds may end up in the hands of these bad actors. (Please see editor’s note below).

In order to prevent this from happening, the company asks that the media thoroughly verifies the content of allegations of abuse before reporting on them.

During the October 2 press conference, it was revealed that 478 victims had reported abuse to Johnny & Associates since the company had opened its reporting portal, with 325 of those victims seeking compensation. Of the 325 seeking compensation, 150 had been confirmed to be employees on the company.

On the victim front, Johnny’s Sexual Assault Victims Association (JSAVA) has recently entered into a state of turmoil. The day of the press conference, the group’s president, Junya Hiramoto, spoke positively of the the press conference. The next day, he, along with eleven other members of the group, met with six people from Johnny & Associates, including Higashiyama and former president Julie Fujishima. Higashiyama and Fujishima both apologized to the group at this meeting. Johnny’s Sexual Assault Victims Association said that they felt heard and believe that the company is devoted to implenting effective measures. While they believe the company, they said they must also keep a watchful eye over them.

Not all in Johnny’s Sexual Assault Victims Association agree with the group’s stance though. The next day, Yasunobu Shiga, formerly of the group Ninja, and the only JSAVA member to debut, announced that he was leaving the victims’ group in a LINE message. At the meeting, Hiramoto, group Vice President Shimon Ishimaru, and several other JSAVA member talked to Johnny’s team about joining their victim compensation company SMILE-UP. This angered Shiga, who originally joined JSAVA under the pretense of bringing a lawsuit against the company. Shiga is not the only JSAVA member who holds this point of view.

It appears that Hiramoto is acting in his own self interest, which includes exchanging personal contact information with Higashiyama and Fujishima and concealing information from other JSAVA members. When asked about this, Hiramoto denied asking to join SMILE-UP., saying that Shiga misunderstood. What Hiramoto wanted was for SMILE-UP. to include people recommended by JSAVA, saying that, “If it’s going to be a relief company, I’d like to see someone with the opinions of victims included.” Higashiyama said he would take Hiramoto’s suggestion under consideration. Hiramoto expressed remorse at JSAVA’s current situation, saying that is responsible for the misunderstanding.

Hiramoto said that the exchanging of contact information was because he doesn’t believe that any good will come out of JSAVA being hostile to Johnny & Associates, and that instead a relationship where dialogue can take place is best.

Regarding the future of JSAVA, Hiramoto said that since they have now received an apology, that the next step is seeking remedies that are acceptable to both the group and Johnny & Associates.

Editor’s note: Reliable studies of false reporting and accusations say that truly fake reporting as has been suggested above only happen between 2 to 10% of all cases. As with any such crime, false reporting is truly and exceedingly rare, and a truly ‘false report’ is one that is a reported assault that has never been attempted or if the complainant directly admits with no duress or pressure.

A false statement is NOT the same as an unfounded or recanted report. The idea that an assault that does not fit within the arbitrary categorizations as set forth by the company or one that does not meet the standards of proof is not the same as a false report.


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