Two more sexual predators suspected at Johnny Kitagawa talent agency

The man conducting the internal investigation over the sexual abuse victims of Johnny Kitagawa has said that he believes there were two more predators working at the talent agency. 

Last March, a BBC documentary titled Predator: The Secret Scandal of J-Pop uncovered an alleged history of sexual abuse by Johnny Kitagawa, arguably the most influential figure in Japan’s entertainment industry. 

Kitagawa’s agency held a near-monopoly on Japanese boy bands for decades, and as set out in the documentary, he faced allegations of sexual misconduct while he was alive. While some were proven in a civil court, he never faced charges. He continued recruiting and training teenage boys until his death in 2019, aged 87. 

New accusers came forward after the documentary was broadcast, with over 1000 victims having so far said they were abused by Kitagawa. 

This photo illustration taken in Tokyo on July 10, 2019 shows front pages of Japanese daily newspapers publishing pictures of Japan’s leading boyband star-maker Johnny Kitagawa, who died on July 9, 2019. Credit: BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

Amid the fallout, the Johnny & Associates talent agency announced that it will split into two entities, with one focusing on compensating victims, while the other will work with upcoming artists. 

“We will disband Johnny & Associates and face the victims in a sincere manner. The new company will create a new future with its fans,” said Noriyuki Higashiyama, the agency’s current president, at a news conference. 

Now, Higashiyama has told the BBC that he believes as a result of the investigation that there were two more predatory men working at the agency, and that he believes them both to still be alive. 

He has not contacted legal authorities in connections with his new findings to date 

“From a legal standpoint, I don’t think we have the authority to do that,” Higashiyama said. “But if those involved file a criminal complaint, I imagine we would co-operate as much as possible.” 

Some of the victims of Kitagawa’s abuse have accused the organisation of failing to act swiftly enough and not making their compensation procedure clear. 

The previous boss of the agency, Julie Keiko Fujishima — Kitagawa’s niece — was ordered to resign from her position following the accusations against her uncle. 

In September, Higashiyama was accused of sexually assaulting young boys

He appeared at a press conference on September 7, where he was met with questions about the claims. 

At the event, journalists asked him whether allegations published in a book, which claimed that he massaged boys’ crotches, exposed his genitals and told them to “eat my sausage” were true (via BBC News). 

Here, he responded that he had no recollection of any events that may or may not have happened. “I don’t remember clearly,” he responded. “Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t. I have trouble remembering.” 

He did however acknowledge claims that he had bullied younger performers, saying that it was possible he had been overly strict with them and would not behave in that same manner now. 

The post Two more sexual predators suspected at Johnny Kitagawa talent agency appeared first on NME.

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