TOKYO (AP) — A team investigating sexual assault allegations by the late founder of a powerful talent agency for boy bands has found the charges credible, calling Tuesday for compensation for the victims and the resignation of the current chief executive.
The investigative panel said Johnny & Associates must apologize, strengthen compliance measures and educate its ranks about human rights. Julie Keiko Fujishima, the chief executive, must resign for not taking action over the years, according to the special team. Kitagawa died in 2019 and was never charged.
“The company’s coverup led to the sexual abuse continuing unchecked for so long,” investigative team leader Makoto Hayashi told reporters in Tokyo. “There were many opportunities to take action.”
Critics say what happened at Johnny’s, as the Tokyo-based company is known, highlights Japan’s lagging awareness about rape, sexual harassment and human rights. Public opinion has often been unsympathetic toward people who say they were targeted by sexual predators.