Sex Abuse Consultations for Men on Rise after Johnny’s Scandal

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

Tokyo, Dec. 30 (Jiji Press)—Tokyo police have been receiving an increasing number of requests for sexual abuse-related consultations from male victims since sexual assaults by Johnny Kitagawa, the late founder of former Johnny & Associates Inc., started making headlines.

British broadcaster BBC covered the scandal in which Kitagawa sexually abused entertainers of the major Japanese talent agency in a documentary program in March 2023. The following month, Kauan Okamoto, a former Johnny & Associates performer, told a press conference that he was a victim of Kitagawa’s sexual abuse, helping raise people’s awareness about male victims of sexual abuse.

According to the crime victim support office of Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department, consultation requests from male victims surged in September, when Johnny & Associates, now renamed Smile-Up. Inc., admitted to sexual abuse by Kitagawa at a press conference.

The number of such consultations totaled 26 as of the end of October, up 2.6-fold from a year earlier. Many of the victims sought consultations for cases a long time ago, such as an incident about 40 years before.

The Cabinet Office’s gender equality bureau temporarily set up a sexual abuse consultation office for adult men and another for boys and their guardians between September and December 2023.

Explaining the reason for opening the offices, an official at the Japanese government agency said, “Male victims tend to find difficulties seeking consultations due to the misunderstanding that men are less likely to be sexually abused.”

The number of consultations offered through the offices totaled 77 in one and a half months, with some 70 pct of adult male victims seeking advice regarding incidents over 20 years before. Staff officials responded, among other measures, by introducing lawyers and the Japan Legal Support Center, a public agency, to victims.

Meanwhile, many juvenile victims may find it difficult to consult with people around them, including their guardians.

A senior MPD official said, “We want parents of young children to seek consultations if they notice something wrong with the kids.”

The Cabinet Office’s one-stop support center offers consultations over the telephone at #8891 around the clock 365 days a year.