TOKYO – A gaggle of males who say they had been sexually abused by a Japanese boy band producer expressed hope Monday that the corporate will present monetary compensation and introduce measures to forestall a recurrence.

They are saying producer Johnny Kitagawa sexually preyed on younger dancers and singers for many years, having them keep at his luxurious dwelling, handing them money and leveraging guarantees of potential fame. The corporate, Johnny & Associates, is a robust drive in Japan’s leisure trade.

The boys mentioned at a information convention Monday that they’ve been ignored for many years by the corporate, Japanese society and mainstream media.

Firm Chief Govt Julie Keiko Fujishima launched a quick assertion on YouTube in Could concerning the accusations however has not appeared earlier than reporters. The corporate has set a information convention for Thursday.

“We want Julie to apologize, as the chief executive and company owner,” mentioned Shimon Ishimaru, one in every of 9 males who’ve fashioned a gaggle demanding an apology and compensation from the corporate. “For a company behind this big a crime to do nothing is unimaginable.”

Johnny’s, as the corporate is understood, is family-run and never publicly listed. Kitagawa, Fujishima’s uncle, died in 2019 and was by no means charged.

A particular crew arrange by the Tokyo-based firm just lately spoke to 23 accusers, however has mentioned the overall will probably balloon to at the least a number of hundred individuals. The crew additionally really helpful Fujishima resign.

Junya Hiramoto, one other member of Ishimaru’s group, mentioned they hope to set an instance for others who’ve suffered.

“Our wounds never fade,” Hiramoto mentioned. “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?”

Over time, persistent allegations towards Kitagawa have typically been dismissed as malicious rumors. Mainstream media stayed silent.

The U.N. Working Group on Enterprise and Human Rights has urged the Japanese authorities to behave to make it possible for Johnny’s gives an apology and compensation and that authorities oversight of companies be improved. The federal government has but to take motion.

Japan tends to be behind the West on problems with gender equality, youngsters’s rights and consciousness about sexuality.

It was solely after a BBC documentary about Kitagawa aired this 12 months that the scandal once more grew to become a subject of scrutiny.

One other accuser, Kauan Okamoto, spoke on the Overseas Correspondents Membership in April, saying he trusted overseas media greater than Japanese media. Okamoto, like many others who’ve come ahead, was a part of a backup boys’ group known as Johnny’s Jr.

The Related Press doesn’t often determine individuals who say they had been sexually assaulted, however Kitagawa’s current accusers determined to be named publicly in information accounts.


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter

Copyright 2023 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.