Earlier this year, Johnny & Associates announced that it would be appointing outside directors who would improve and strengthen the management of the company, including ensuring compliance and implementing measures to prevent recurrence, in light of the Johnny Kitagawa sexual abuse scandal. Part of their appointment included conducting a third party investigation into the allegations against Kitagawa. They have now released their findings.
The report is 71 pages. A two page summary of the report will be explained here. The summary was broken up into five main points.
1. Overview of the investigation
The investigation was conducted May 26 – August 29. The investigation included interviews with 41 people, including alleged victims and company staff. Relevant documents were also analyzed, among other things.
Johnny Kitagawa started sexually abusing his victims in the 1950s. His abuse continued to his company Johnny & Associates from the early 1970s to the mid 2010s. Many Johnnys’ Jr. trainees said that they were repeatedly sexually abused over a long period of time. Johnny & Associates did not take appropriate action in regards to this abuse despite the reporting of Shukan Bunshun and the subsequent trial, exposé books, and requests for interviews from the BBC.
- Kitagawa’s sexual illness
- His sister Mary‘s neglect and concealment of the facts
- The company’s inaction
- Power structures in the company that created victimization
4. Background of the case
- Disadvantages of Johnny & Associates being a family-run company
- Sloppy management of the Johnnys’ Jr. program
- Weak governance (1. the dysfunction of the board of directors and their failure to monitor and supervise duties, 2. the absence of an internal audit department, 3. lack of basic internal regulations, 4. an inadequate whistleblower system, and 5. inadequate training on harrasment)
- Silence of the mass media
- Issues within the industry
5. Measures to prevent recurrence
- Essence of this case
- Basic measures Johnny & Associates should take (Johnny & Associates should acknowledge that allegations of Kitagawa’s sexual abuse are true, and that the company should sincerely apologize to the victims, and immediately start dialogue with the victims and embark on relief)
- Victim relief system (Johnny & Associates should establish a “victim relief system” to provide compensation to the victims)
- Formulation and implementation of human rights policy (Johnny & Associates should create a human rights policy that should serve as a model to companies worldwide. This new human rights policy will be publicized domestically and internationally. The company will comply with this policy and never again sexually abuse juveniles)
- Enhance training (four parts: training on respect for human rights, training on sexual assault, harrassment training, training for talent, which includes Johnnys’ Jr.)
- Strengthening governance (1. Resignation of Julie Fujishima as President and prevention of harmful family management. For the company to start anew, the change must start at the top. Fujishima should resign since family management is one of the cause of the company’s poor governance, 2. Revitalization of board of directors. Regular meetings should be held so that the board of directors can fully exercise its supervisory function, and issues within the company should be shared from time to time to determine appropriate countermeasures, 3. Use of outside directors. A system should be created that allows outside directors to fully fulfill the roles expected of them, 4. Establishment of internal audit office. This will ensure the appropriateness and efficiency of operations of other departments, 5. Maintenance of basic internal regulations, 6. Activation of internal reporting system. In order to revitalize the whistleblower system, the system should be revised and information in regards to it thoroughly disseminated, 7. Expansion of consultation destinations and allocation of advocates. Johnnys’ Jr. should increase the number of counselors and advocates who consult with them about their issues)
- Establishment of CCO (chief compliance officer) (Recruit human rights experts from outside should appoint a CCO, to have them oversee the internal audit office and whistleblower system. They should also be should be empowered to state their views.)
- Engagement with the media (Johnny & Associates should promptly begin engagement with the media. The company should declare that it will never allow sexual abuse to occur again, and establish a human rights policy to that end. The company has a strong determination to make a fresh start, and in the future he will continue to work with the media. It is necessary to demonstrate a stance to prevent recurrence of human rights violations through mutual monitoring and mutual checks.)
- Monitoring of the degree of implementation of recurrence prevention measures and their publication
Johnny & Associates will hold a press conference on the report soon, in which they will respond to this report.