A group of men who claim to have been sexually abused by a prominent Japanese boy band producer are expressing hope for financial compensation and systemic reforms to prevent future incidents. The accused producer, Johnny Kitagawa, allegedly exploited young performers for decades, offering them fame and fortune in exchange for sexual favors. The production company, Johnny & Associates, holds significant influence in Japan’s entertainment industry.
These men, who say they were ignored by both the company and broader society for years, demand a formal apology and restitution from the company’s CEO, Julie Keiko Fujishima. They view the company’s inaction as unacceptable given the severity of the alleged offenses.
Johnny & Associates, a privately held family-run enterprise, recently established a special investigative team that has interviewed 23 accusers. The total number is expected to rise to several hundred. The team has recommended Fujishima’s resignation.
Members of this advocacy group aim to set a precedent for others who have suffered similar abuses, emphasizing that their pain persists and the courage to come forward is laden with shame.
Historically, allegations against Kitagawa were often dismissed as baseless rumors, and mainstream media largely refrained from addressing the issue. The U.N. Working Group on Business and Human Rights has called on the Japanese government to ensure that Johnny’s offers an apology and compensation while enhancing oversight of businesses.
The scandal gained renewed attention following a BBC documentary on Kitagawa earlier this year. One accuser, Kauan Okamoto, expressed greater trust in foreign media over Japanese outlets. Like many others, Okamoto was part of a boys’ group associated with Johnny’s.
While the Associated Press typically protects the identities of sexual assault survivors, Kitagawa’s recent accusers have chosen to be identified publicly in news reports.