Probe Finds TBS History of Special Consideration to Johnny’s

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The office of Smile-Up. Inc., formerly Johnny & Associates, in Tokyo

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—TBS Holdings Inc. said Sunday that a special investigation has found that the Japanese broadcaster had a “history of increasing special consideration” to former Johnny & Associates Inc. to maintain a good relationship with the talent agency.

The broadcaster published the outcome of the probe conducted by a special investigative committee set up by TBS to examine its relationship with Johnny & Associates, currently called Smile-Up Inc., and its handling of media reports about the agency.

The six-member committee, joined by outside lawyers, interviewed 125 former and current TBS officials before releasing a report on the outcome of the investigation.

The report pointed out that TBS had a “lack of awareness of human rights” in not reporting on the fact that the Supreme Court confirmed in 2004 the truth of sexual harassment of Johnny & Associates performers by Johnny Kitagawa, the late founder of the talent agency.

Referring to a delay in TBS’ coverage of the issue of Kitagawa’s sexual misconduct, which was first reported by British broadcaster BBC in March this year and attracted social attention, the committee concluded that “consideration for the talent agency worked.”

“We take it very seriously,” TBS President Takashi Sasaki said of the outcome of the investigation. “We’ll work to further increase the independence of news editing.”