Less than a week after an investigation concluded that late Japanese boy band producer Johnny Kitagawa had sexually assaulted and abused boys for decades, a group of now-grown accusers are hoping to receive an apology and compensation from his company.
Background: Kitagawa, a U.S.-born Japanese talent manager, targeted at least several hundred people from the 1950s to the 2010s, the investigation said. His own agency, Johnny & Associates, appointed a third-party panel to run the three-month probe.
Kitagawa died in 2019 without ever being charged. While allegations about his actions had circulated when he was still alive, mainstream Japanese media largely remained silent.
What the accusers are saying: A group of nine male accusers are demanding an apology and compensation from Johnny & Associates. In a press conference Monday, Shimon Ishimaru, one of the alleged victims, said it is “unimaginable” for “a company behind this big a crime to do nothing,” AP News reported.
Junya Hiramoto, another member of the group, said their “wounds never fade.”
“Do you think we aren’t still hurting? Do you think we can forget? Do you know what it’s like for us to come forward like this, filled with shame?” he said.
What’s next: How Johnny & Associates responds to the investigation’s findings is yet to be seen. Current CEO Julie Keiko Fujishima is reportedly considering resigning from her post, which was recommended by the investigative panel.