Panel to Examine Corporate Culture behind Talent Agency Johnny & Associates

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Makoto Hayashi, chair of the special panel to investigate sexual abuse allegations against the founder of Johnny & Associates Inc., speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday.

A third-party special panel of experts investigating the sexual abuse allegations against Johnny Kitagawa, the founder of the all-male talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. who died in 2019, said it will examine the corporate culture that allowed the alleged acts to occur.

The group, which was established in May by the agency to prevent a recurrence, said at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday that it intends to look into the cases from an outside perspective — independent from the agency — and will compile preventive measures.

The panel of experts comprises three members — lawyer Makoto Hayashi, the chair of the panel and a former prosecutor general; psychiatrist Nozomu Asukai; and a female clinical psychology researcher who helps victims of sexual violence. The group said it held its first meeting on May 29.

The experts will not conduct a comprehensive investigation in consideration of the emotional strain on those interviewed but will carry out a factual investigation through such methods as speaking to the victims and those related to the agency.

The group said it will also investigate sexual abuse committed by agency staff other than Kitagawa and create proposals to prevent a recurrence.

“We’ll first work to determine the facts. We’ll carry out our investigation based on an assumption that there was sexual abuse. We’ll also look into the corporate culture that allowed these alleged acts to occur,” said Hayashi at the press conference.

Meanwhile, the outline of the stage performance “Dream Boys,” which has starred some of the agency’s actors, was released Monday. This year, it will be performed in Tokyo in September, but Kitagawa’s title, eternal producer Kitagawa, has been removed.

Toho Co., the production company behind the stage performance, said the decision to remove his title was made comprehensively by Toho and Johnny & Associates as a result of the sexual abuse allegations.