First of all, apologies for getting behind on updating the Johnny Kitagawa sexual abuse case, and there will be more filling in the gaps of what’s come out since the last time soon. However, while in the midst of compiling that, breaking news emerged as Johnny & Associates posted the results of the third-party investigation they commissioned. In a 71-page full report that is sure to be broken down in coming days, the investigation found that Johnny had been abusing victims since the 1950s, among other things.
A two-page summary of the findings was also published. The investigation itself was conducted between May 26 and August 29, including interviews with 41 people and a review of documents. They conclude that Johnny started in the 1950s, continued after establishing his company, and the company didn’t take appropriate action to stop it.
Johnny Kitagawa started sexually abusing his victims in the 1950s. His abuse continued to his company Johnny & Associates from the early 1970s to the mid 2010s. Many Johnnys’ Jr. trainees said that they were repeatedly sexually abused over a long period of time. Johnny & Associates did not take appropriate action in regards to this abuse despite the reporting of Shukan Bunshun and the subsequent trial, expose books, and requests for interviews from the BBC.
Notably, the report cites four causes of the sexual abuse and goes on to list problems with J&A, as well as the media and industry at large.
1. Kitagawa’s sexual illness
2. His sister Mary‘s neglect and concealment of the facts
3. The company’s inaction
4. Power structures in the company that created victimization.
1. Disadvantages of Johnny & Associates being a family-run company
2. Sloppy management of the Johnnys’ Jr. program
3. Weak governance (1. the dysfunction of the board of directors and their failure to monitor and supervise duties, 2. the absence of an internal audit department, 3. lack of basic internal regulations, 4. an inadequate whistleblower system, and 5. inadequate training on harrasment
4. Silence of the mass media
5. Issues within the industry
It also lists recommends measures to help prevent recurrence of the issue.
1. Essence of this case
2. Basic measures Johnny & Associates should take (Johnny & Associates acknowledges that allegations of Kitagawa’s sexual abuse are true, and that the company should sincerely apologize to the victims, and immediately start dialogue with the victims and embark on relief)
3. Victim relief system (Johnny & Associates has established a “victim relief system” to provide compensation to the victims)
4. Formulation and implementation of human rights policy (Johnny & Associates has created a human rights policy that should serve as a model to companies worldwide. This new human rights policy will be publicized domestically and internationally. The company will comply with this policy and never again sexually abuse juveniles.
5. Enhance training
-1. training on respect for human rights
-2. training on sexual assault
-3. harassment training
-4. training for talent, which includes Johnnys’ Jr.
6. Strengthening governance
-1. Resignation of Julie Fujishima as CEO and prevention of harmful family management. For the company to start anew, the change must start at the top. Fujishima believes that she should resign since family management is one of the cause of the company’s poor governance
-2. Revitalization of board of directors. Regular meetings are to be held so that the board of directors can fully exercise its supervisory function, and issues within the company should be shared from time to time to determine appropriate countermeasures,
-3. Use of outside directors. A system should be created that allows outside directors to fully fulfill the roles expected of them
-4. Establishment of internal audit office. This will ensure the appropriateness and efficiency of operations of other departments
-5. Maintenance of basic internal regulations
-6. Activation of internal reporting system. In order to revitalize the whistleblower system, we revised the system and thoroughly disseminated information in regards to it
-7. Expansion of consultation destinations and allocation of advocates. Johnnys’ Jr. should increase the number of counselors and advocates who consult with them about their issues)
7. Establishment of CCO (Recruit human rights experts from outside to set up a CCO, and
and to oversee the Internal Audit Office and Whistleblower
should be empowered to state their views.
Notably, despite Julie Fujishima’s claims that she had no knowledge all this was happening, appearing to insist on staying on in her current role as President, the report recommends that she resign. But that’s the bare minimum, and they basically say the the whole corporate structure needs to change in order for the company to actually get the fresh start they seem to want so desperately, as to ensure none of the previous culture remains.
Note: Full translation of the summary can now be read here.
While people were understandably skeptical of the thoroughness and impartiality of this investigation, I’m not sure they could realistically come to any other conclusion with all the allegations and details that are already out there. That said, it’s still important that the company itself admits this, especially for the sake of the victims, and I do hope the recommendations of the investigation are actually implemented.
I also hope it’s not just J&A that makes changes, but also other companies in the industries are questioned as to what their culture and measures are to prevent this. Of course, the media’s role in this is significant as well. Even after all this had emerged, they wouldn’t even show the BBC documentary on the air, and their capitulation to Johnny’s influence also made they culpable. Of course, I imagine what will actually happen is the powers that be will want to bury this as fast as possible in an attempt to get back to normal as quickly as possible and avoid hard questions, though I hope there will be those out there who don’t allow that.
Apparently Julie is going to be stepping down.