The new president of "J-Pop" talent agency Johnny & Associates, Noriyuki Higashiyama, is facing accusations of sexual abuse, bringing even greater scrutiny to the company which had been plagued by the recent turmoil surrounding its late founder and namesake, Johnny Kitagawa.
On Thursday, Julie Fujishima, the owner of the agency and niece of Kitagawa, resigned from her role as president of Johnny & Associates, while acknowledging the actions of her uncle and apologizing to his victims.
While acknowledgment of Johnny Kitagawa's heinous abuse is a step in the right direction, it doesn't come close to justice. For six decades, Johnny Kitagawa sexually abused vulnerable boys while the people around him — and, more deplorably, society as a whole — turned a blind eye to his crimes. This case speaks to the broader crisis of governance in Japanese entertainment and calls attention to the nation's lack of adequate child protection laws.
Although there are no excuses for the terrible crimes Kitagawa committed and Japan's entertainment industry — and the nation itself — has a long way to go to stamping out crimes against minors, both the agency and the nation have taken encouraging steps forward. Johnny & Associate's compensation program and Japan's revision of its Penal Code concerning sex crimes and further pending reforms are vital efforts in the right direction.