The most prominent boyband management company in Japan has issued an apology following allegations of sexual assault leveled against its late founder Johnny Kitagawa. On Monday, fans demanded that the company “fully investigate” the charges.
Last month, Japanese-Brazilian singer Kauan Okamoto made allegations that he was sexually abused on multiple occasions by Johnny and Associates founder Kitagawa. Okamoto is of Japanese and Brazilian descent.
Okamoto claimed that Kitagawa, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke, abused him beginning when Okamoto was just 15 years old and continuing through the end of his employment at the agency in 2016.
A issue regarding the star-maker’s long-alleged history of sexual assault against young boys was brought to light by a recent BBC documentary. He is one of the few people to publicly address the allegations against the star-maker.
Kitagawa was never brought to justice for the allegations made against him.
In a video and written statement that were both released on Sunday evening, Julie Fujishima, who is Kitagawa’s niece and the current president of Johnny and Associates, commented on the situation.
She stated in the video that she was sorry “sincerely” for the problems caused in connection to the charges, as well as to the people who accused her.
“It should come as no surprise that we do not accept the notion that there was no issue. In her written statement, she said, “As a business owner and as an individual, I do not in any way tolerate these acts.” She was referring to the documentary as well as Okamoto’s testimony.
She noted that “on the other hand, it is not easy for us to simply declare by ourselves whether individual allegations can be recognised as facts or not, when we cannot confirm with the individual directly concerned, Johnny Kitagawa,” and she said this in her letter.
“This is not the kind of situation in which you can get away with apologizing and claiming that “I did not know.” But the fact of the matter is that I did not,” Fujishima, a long-time senior at the agency, explained further.
Penlight, a fan organization, stated on Monday that the decision made by the firm to make online messages rather than holding a press conference had resulted in many issues remaining unanswered.