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Johnny and Associates President Asked to Step Down by External Investigators Over Founder’s Alleged ‘Extensive’ Sexual Assaults

External investigators hired by Johnny and Associates, the Japanese talent agency whose founder, the late Johnny Kitagawa, is accused of sexually abusing his young clients, have called for the resignation of company president Julie Fujishima.

Published Tuesday, the report said that the company must accept that the claims of abuse are true, apologize and make amends. It recommended that Fujishima, who is Kitagawa’s niece, depart in order to avoid issues of family control and to ensure “total reform” of the company.

In a Japanese-language statement on its website, Johnny’s said: “Once again we sincerely apologize for the great concern and anxiety that this matter has caused everybody. In addition, we plan to hold a press conference based on the findings and recommendations of this team, and we plan to separately inform the relevant parties of the details.”

The company statement did not provide a date for the press conference nor say whether Fujishima will quit.

The investigators were former Prosecutor General Hayashi Makoto, psychiatrist Asukai Nozomu and practicing clinical psychologist Saito Azusa. They held meetings with 41 former Johnny’s clients and senior staff between May and August.

The investigators published a 71-page report and a two-page summary in Japanese on Tuesday. They alleged that Kitagawa, once one of the most powerful figures in Japanese entertainment, had committed extensive and repeated sexual assaults, in particular against young male talents at the Johnny’s Junior division, between the 1970s and 2010s.

Additionally, the report noted “neglect and concealment” and “sloppy management” at Johnny’s Junior and failures of oversight by the company’s management board.

The findings of the three investigators are closely in line with the interim findings published earlier this month by a United Nations team which probed workplace human rights in Japan, but paid special attention to Johnny and Associates.

“Our interactions with victims of sexual harassment involving Johnny and Associates talents have exposed deeply alarming allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving several hundreds of the company’s talents, with media companies in Japan reportedly implicated in covering up the scandal for decades,” said the UN group’s end-of-mission statement.

The Hayashi team, similarly, pointed to the failure of the Japanese media to blow the whistle as well as “industry issues.” The report acknowledged a 1999 expose by the Shukun Bunshin publication, a resulting lawsuit and the publication of a tell-all book, but it said that the company “failed to take appropriate measures.” The matter surged to the surface earlier this year – some four years after Kitagawa’s death – following a documentary produced by the BBC.

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