A man has come forward to accuse the late Johnny Kitagawa of multiple occasions of sexual abuse inside NHK, the public broadcaster reported on Monday.
What he’s saying: The man, now in his 30s, says Kitagawa took off his underwear and sexually abused him in a men’s restroom at the NHK broadcasting center in Shibuya, Tokyo, in the fall of 2002. The abuse continued about five more times in the restrooms, he told the outlet.
The victim at the time was a high school student taking dance lessons at the building. He said he wanted to become a pop star under Kitagawa’s label, Johnny & Associates, and was hoping to appear in an NHK music program that featured young aspirants like himself.
Kitagawa was present during the lessons, the victim said. When he finally refused to be abused again, the agency stopped contacting him.
What NHK is saying: NHK said it is taking the man’s testimony “seriously.” The broadcaster also vowed to conduct a complete review of “The Shonen Club,” the program the man had hoped to be featured in, and may change its title and content.
“We take the (man’s) statement seriously. It is an issue that cannot be overlooked, and we will take further steps to protect the safety and the rights of those who appear [in our programs],” an NHK official told Kyodo News
Meanwhile, Johnny & Associates said they were not aware of such an incident taking place at NHK. However, the label assured that they will “continue to follow the recommendations from the Special Recurrence Prevention Team and do our utmost to provide relief to the victims,” as per The Japan Times.
The big picture:
The man’s case adds to hundreds of abuses reported against Kitagawa. His label recently announced
that it will split into two companies, with one focused on identifying and compensating victims.