Japanese entertainment company, Johnny & Associates, has appointed Noriyuki Higashiyama as its new president following the resignation of Julie Keiko Fujishima. The company has been marred by sexual assault allegations against its late founder, Johnny Kitagawa. Fujishima acknowledged the veracity of the abuse and expressed her commitment to overseeing a victim compensation program while remaining on the company’s board.
Higashiyama, a member of the boy group Shonentai, announced his retirement as an actor and singer to take on the role of president. He will also be responsible for overseeing compensation for men who were assaulted as children. During a press conference, Higashiyama expressed his determination to regain trust and stated that he was putting his life on the line for this effort.
Fujishima mentioned that a new company structure, including an outside compliance officer, will be announced next month. She expressed gratitude to the fans and acknowledged the achievements of the singers and dancers represented by Johnny & Associates. Kitagawa’s powerful influence had kept many, including Fujishima, silent about the alleged abuse.
The allegations against Kitagawa came to light earlier this year when several individuals accused him of sexual assault. A three-month investigation by a special team established by the company confirmed the truth of these long-rumored allegations. The victims, who were members of a backup group called Johnny’s Jr., claim that Kitagawa raped, fondled, and abused them in various locations, including his Tokyo mansion, car, and overseas hotels.
Nine men have formed a group demanding an apology and financial compensation from Johnny & Associates, expressing some reservations despite the company’s apology and promise of compensation. Higashiyama faced questions about allegations of bullying or sexual abuse, to which he responded that he could not remember if he had engaged in such behavior in the past.
Separately, Guinness World Records has stripped Kitagawa of all the records he held, citing its policy towards “criminals.”