Smile-Up Admits to Sexual Abuse of Artists by 2 Ex-Employees of the Entertainment Agency

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The company headquarters of former Johnny & Associates Inc. is seen after the company logo was removed on Oct. 6 last year.

Smile-Up. Inc., formerly known as Johnny & Associates Inc., admitted Thursday that sexual abuse of artists belonging to the entertainment agency was perpetrated not only by the late founder Johnny Kitagawa, but also by two former male employees.

According to Smile-Up, one of the two staff was employed by Johnny & Associates until more than a decade ago, while the other worked at the company until September last year. The latter is the ex-manager of former actor-singer Noriyuki Higashiyama, who is now the president of Smile-Up. The allegations against the two men were made in a BBC interview with Higashiyama published by the British broadcaster on Thursday, to which the company confirmed as true.

The company previously had not mentioned any details of sexual assault by staff during press conferences and other occasions.