2023年9月13日水曜日

UNITED NATION HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP TO PROBE JOHNNY'S AGENCY SEX ABUSE SCANDAL

UNITED NATION HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP TO PROBE JOHNNY'S AGENCY SEX ABUSE SCANDAL

@Jackie San


A working group of the U.N. Human Rights Council is planning to look into sexual abuse claims against the late founder of Japan's top male talent agency Johnny & Associates, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.


The Working Group on Business and Human Rights is expected to arrive in Japan between late July and early August and conduct interviews in Tokyo and Osaka with former members of the agency who say they were abused by Johnny Kitagawa, they said.


The allegations surrounding Kitagawa, who died in 2019, have garnered international attention after the BBC aired a documentary in March about the sex abuse scandal that included interviews with alleged victims, spurring other former members of the agency to come forward with their stories.


Among those who have lodged accusations, Akimasa Nihongi said he plans to cooperate with the investigation.


"Japanese companies are required to stick to global standards amid a heightened awareness of human rights around the world," the 39-year-old said.


"I hope the issue becomes more known by people including those abroad, rather than covered up and left unanswered as it is in Japan."


The working group is expected to also hold interviews with the Japanese government and businesses regarding human rights of the employed and submit to the council a report that will include recommendations to Japan, next July.


Following numerous reports of abuse, Johnny's president, Julie Keiko Fujishima, publicly apologized for the scandal involving Kitagawa but stopped short of accepting the claims by people formerly represented by the agency.


The company set up an external special probe team to look into alleged sexual abuse by the founder and compile measures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, but the agency has been criticized for failing to hold a press conference following the claims.


Kitagawa was one of the most revered figures in Japan's entertainment industry, propelling numerous groups such as SMAP, Arashi and Hey! Say! JUMP to stardom before his death.

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