Johnny & Associates Admits Seeing ‘Blocked Journalist’ List Before Press Conference

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Members of the media gather at a press conference held by Johnny & Associates, Inc. in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

Johnny & Associates, Inc. had a list of “blocked” journalists for a press conference held Monday regarding the sexual abuse of male performers by the firm’s late founder, Johnny Kitagawa, sources said Tuesday.

The list suggested that the company not recognize certain newspaper reporters and freelance journalists during the question and answer session in Tokyo, the sources said.

The entertainment agency admitted the existence of a press-member list containing the word “NG” (no good), which was drawn up by FTI Consulting, Inc. — the public relations company that organized the press conference — and that the PR firm had shown the list to Johnny & Associates in advance.

The one-question-per-person press conference was attended by Johnny & Associates President Noriyuki Higashiyama, Johnnys’ Island, Inc. President Yoshihiko Inohara, and two lawyers. Former NHK announcer Kazuya Matsumoto anchored the event.

There were a number of tense moments during the press conference when media members who were not nominated to speak — despite continuously raising their hands — loudly expressed their discontent.

Johnny & Associates denied that it participated in drawing up the list, saying, “No one at the company had anything to do with the material that’s been leaked on this occasion … We’d never been so rude as to request that certain people not be picked [to ask a question].”

According to the company, at a meeting held two days before the press conference, Inohara saw “NG” written on a list of media representatives slated to attend the press conference. “What does this mean?” he reportedly asked FTI Consulting. “Everyone must get a chance to speak.”

Johnny & Associates said it had asked the public relations firm to issue an apology.