Smile-Up Inc., the successor company to Johnny & Associates Inc., said Friday it has started compensating victims of sexual abuse by the Japanese talent agency's late founder Johnny Kitagawa, with 23 of the more than 800 people seeking redress receiving payments.

The company said on Nov. 22 that its panel of lawyers, formed in September, confirmed 35 people as victims of sexual abuse by Kitagawa, who died in 2019 at the age of 87, and would begin notifying them of compensation plans.

File photo taken in October 2023 in Tokyo shows the office building of the company formerly known as Johnny & Associates Inc. (Kyodo)

Of the 35 victims, 30 had expressed their intention by Thursday to accept the company's proposal, while the remaining five are still reviewing it, it said.

Apart from the 35, the panel has offered compensation to an additional 23 individuals, the firm said. The panel has said 834 in total are seeking compensation.

"We will regularly report progress in providing compensation," Smile-Up said in a statement.

As the sex abuse scandal unfolded, Johnny & Associates renamed itself to Smile-Up on Oct. 17 and dedicated itself to paying reparations to victims while planning to establish a separate talent agency to manage former Johnny & Associates performers who decide to sign new contracts.

Related coverage:

Filmmaker Kitano says Japan's showbiz culture known to be brutal

Johnny's sex abuse victim dies in possible suicide in Japan

No ex-Johnny's singers cast for NHK year-end show after sex scandal