NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, announced on Wednesday that it will suspend new contracts with male talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc. until it ensures appropriate actions have been taken to address decades of sexual abuse by the agency's late founder, including adequate compensation for victims.
The policy will also extend to "Kohaku Uta Gassen," a popular live music show aired on New Year's Eve that features Japan's most popular singers, NHK president Nobuo Inaba said at a press conference.
The scandal-hit talent agency said last week its board met to discuss the future direction of the company, including potentially changing its name to distance itself from namesake founder Johnny Kitagawa. The outcome of the discussions will be publicized at a press conference next Monday.
In a press conference on Sept. 7, Kitagawa's niece, Julie Keiko Fujishima, acknowledged her uncle's sexual abuse and said she had resigned as president two days earlier. However, the agency's decision to retain its name has drawn criticism from victims and companies that use its performers in advertising campaigns.
Kitagawa was one of the most revered figures in Japan's entertainment industry, propelling numerous groups such as SMAP and Arashi to stardom before he died in 2019.
After a BBC documentary aired in March featuring interviews with multiple people who claimed to have been sexually abused by the pop mogul, several former agency members came forward with additional accusations of abuse by him during their teenage years.