The President of “Johnny & Associates Inc” Apologizes for Alleged Sexual Abuse by Late Johnny Kitagawa

The President of “Johnny & Associates Inc” Apologizes for Alleged Sexual Abuse by Late Johnny Kitagawa

@Julie Keiko Fujishima, Photo by Johnny & Associates

The president Julie Keiko Fujishima, the one of the biggest Japanese talent agencies, Johnny & Associates Inc, on Sunday issued a video and written apology to those who have alleged sexual abuse by its late founder Johnny Kitagawa. 

The incident began this year when former Johnny’s Jr. member Kauan Okamoto, 26, made accusations in some media. On April 12, he held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, claiming that he had been sexually harassed by Johnny Kitagawa (who passed away in July 2019) since he was 15 years old. In response to these claims, Johnny’s office conducted interviews with employees and the talent belonging to the company.

Okamoto, born of Brazilian and Japanese parents, joined Johnny’s Office in 2012 and left the agency in 2016 to pursue his career overseas as an artist. After the press conference, he continued to discuss the issue in various ways, and on the evening of January 13, he updated his YouTube channel, he revealed that he had met with Mr. Fujishima and discussed the issue for about two hours.

Fujishima’s apology shook the entire nation of Japan, she appeared herself and stated, “My name is Julie Fujishima, President and Representative Director of Johnny’s Office Inc. I would like to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the great public outcry over the sexual assault of the company’s founder, Johnny Kitagawa. First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest and most sincere apologies to those who have been affected by the incident. I would also like to apologize again for the great disappointment and anxiety I have caused to the people involved and to our fans. Although it is very late, we will be responding in writing to the questions we have received from various quarters”.

She also said that “I cannot confirm with Johnny Kitagawa, who is the person in question,” but she is committed to implementing measures to address the needs of the victims.

Kitagawa was one of the most revered and prominent figures in Japan’s entertainment industry from 1980’s, propelling numerous groups such as Tanokin Trio, SMAP, Arashi, Tokio and Hey! Say! JUMP to stardom before his death in 2019. The allegations surrounding Kitagawa have garnered the spotlight abroad after the BBC aired a documentary in March that included interviews with people besides Okamoto who said they had been sexually abused by the music mogul.

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