A number of major Japanese companies have decided to stop working with celebrities represented by Johnny & Associates as the talent agency addresses decades of sexual abuse perpetuated by its late founder.
Driving the news: Julie Keiko Fujishima, 57, recently stepped down from her post as company president and expressed regret for the actions of her late uncle, Johnny Kitagawa, who had been accused of sexually assaulting young boys for decades. Prior to her resignation, a third-party panel appointed by the company itself concluded that Kitagawa had abused hundreds of talents as far back as the 1950s.
Cutting ties: Asahi Group Holdings, a top beverage maker, will cease using its ads that feature stars under Johnny & Associates, including Junichi Okada, Toma Ikuta and Sho Sakurai, AP News reported.
Daiichi Sankyo, Japan Airlines, Kao Corp., McDonald’s Japan, Nippon Life Insurance Co., Nissan and Suntory Holdings are also all distancing themselves from the entertainment agency, according to multiple reports.
Johnny & Associates announced it would forgo management fees as part of its efforts to make up for its late founder’s actions in a statement
posted to its corporate website on Wednesday.
“For the next year, all appearance fees received from advertisements and program appearances will be paid entirely to the talent, and we will not accept any remuneration as an entertainment production,” the statement reads. “We are aware that a long journey is needed for the apology to the victims, relief, and regaining trust.”
What’s next: Johnny & Associates on Wednesday chose three lawyers who have worked as judges to head its planned compensation program for the abuse victims, according to NHK. The company said a dedicated web form will be set up for the claims, which will be dealt with individually.