Johnny & Associates Names Noriyuki Higashiyama New President, Apologizes for Sex Abuse Scandal (Update 1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Noriyuki Higashiyama, left, and Julie Keiko Fujishima attend a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon.

Talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. acknowledged the sexual abuse allegations against the late founder and former president, Johnny Kitagawa, at a press conference held in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon and officially announced that Julie Keiko Fujishima had resigned as president on Sep. 5. She is to be replaced by actor and TV personality Noriyuki Higashiyama.

Fujishima, 57, said, “I acknowledge them [the allegations of sexual abuse by the late Kitagawa] as an individual as well as on behalf of the agency. I apologize to all the victims from the bottom of my heart.”

Higashiyama, 56, added, “I acknowledge the sexual abuse [by Kitagawa]. I apologize to the [victims]. They have had a painful experience for a long time, both physically and mentally.”

He revealed that he will retire from the public stage at the end of 2023, saying, “I’ll devote the rest of my life to this issue.”

Higashiyama made his debut in 1985 as part of the three-member boy band Shonentai. He is currently the oldest talent under the agency.

Yoshihiko Inohara, actor, TV personality and former member of boy band V6, who serves as president of Johnny’s affiliated company, also attended the press conference.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
From left, Yoshihiko Inohara, Noriyuki Higashiyama, Julie Keiko Fujishima and a lawyer attend a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon.