Julie Fujishima, the CEO of Japan’s largest pop talent agency, Johnny and Associates, has tendered her resignation following her acknowledgment of the sexual abuse perpetrated by the agency’s late founder, Johnny Kitagawa.
The departure of Fujishima comes in the wake of a recent investigation that uncovered extensive sexual abuse committed by Mr. Kitagawa against young idols associated with his agency throughout his six-decade-long career.
Johnny Kitagawa passed away in 2019, maintaining his innocence and never facing legal charges.
During a public apology, Ms. Fujishima confessed to the abuse, stating, “Both the agency itself and I myself as a person recognize that sexual abuse by Johnny Kitagawa took place. I apologize to his victims from the bottom of my heart.”
This revelation has been met with mixed emotions, as some victims of the abuse were present at the news conference, with visible anger and distress.
Johnny Kitagawa was an influential figure in Japan’s entertainment industry, known for his agency’s near-monopoly on Japanese boy bands for decades.
Allegations of abuse had circulated for years, but concrete action had not been taken. Additionally, most mainstream Japanese media refrained from covering the allegations, leading to accusations of an industry cover-up.
Earlier this year, a BBC documentary shed light on Kitagawa’s abuse, sparking widespread discussion and demands for a thorough investigation.
The exposé also encouraged more victims to come forward, including J-pop star Kauan Okamato, who revealed that he had been sexually abused by Kitagawa since the age of 15.
In the final report released by independent investigators appointed by the agency last week, it was revealed that the agency’s family management structure had allowed the abuse to persist for decades.
Ms. Fujishima, a long-time executive within the company, was criticized for failing to address the allegations despite being aware of them.
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