U.N. Human Rights Council experts said Aug. 4 their investigations in Japan exposed “deeply alarming” allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving hundreds of performers at Japan’s top male talent agency, Johnny & Associates, and called for the government to act on behalf of those affected.
The remarks came at a Tokyo news conference as the U.N. Working Group on Business and Human Rights wrapped up its two-week visit to Japan, during which it met with alleged victims of the agency’s founder, Johnny Kitagawa.
Pichamon Yeophantong, a member of the group and a political scientist specializing in human rights and business, said perceived inaction by the government highlighted the need for it to act as “the primary duty bearer to ensure transparent investigations of perpetrators and that victims obtain effective remedies” in the form of an apology or financial redress.
Pichamon referred to exploitative working conditions and a lack of a clear legal definition of harassment as factors fostering a culture of “impunity for sexual violence and harassment” in Japan’s media and entertainment industry as a whole.
Kitagawa was one of the Japanese entertainment industry’s most powerful figures before his death in 2019. Sexual misconduct claims against him have received renewed scrutiny since a BBC documentary released in March interviewed some alleged victims, with more coming forward after it aired. (Kyodo)