The United Nations Human Rights Council, which has been investigating the sexual abuse of male trainees by the founder of Japan’s largest entertainment agency, Janizu Office, has issued findings that suggest the number of victims may number in the hundreds.
According to the Mainichi Shimbun, experts from the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Business and Human Rights told a press conference at the Japan Press Club in Tokyo yesterday (April 4) that “deeply concerning suspicions have emerged that hundreds of Janizu’s entertainers have been subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse.”
They estimated the number of victims to be in the hundreds, based on data from preliminary investigations and interviews conducted in Japan since last month 24, Mainichi said, without providing further details.
“Japanese media companies allegedly participated in covering up this scandal for decades,” the working group said, emphasizing that “the Japanese government must take the initiative to investigate and secure remedies.”
“The lack of protections under labor laws and clear legal definitions of harassment,” they said of the Japanese media and entertainment industry, “contribute to a culture of impunity for sexual violence and harassment.”
He was also negative about the team Janis set up to prevent recurrence, saying that “questions remain about its transparency and legitimacy.”
Following the announcement of the working group, Zanis said it would “take the views solemnly and engage in a respectful dialog with those who have reported harm.”
Janiz founder, the late Zani Kitagawa, founded Janiz in 1962 and went on to develop a number of well-known idol groups, including Smart and Arashi.
However, he died in 2019, and during his lifetime, he reportedly committed sexual offenses against a number of same-sex idol aspirants.
The issue of Kitagawa’s sexual misconduct was reignited in March of this year when the British public broadcaster BBC aired a documentary titled “The Predators of Japanese J-Pop,” and subsequent testimonies from victims sparked a wave of criticism.
In May, Kitagawa’s niece, 먹튀검증 President Keiko Janizu Fujishima, issued a statement saying, “I sincerely apologize for causing an uproar in the world over the founder’s sexual assault.”
The working group plans to submit a report based on its findings to the UN Human Rights Council next June.