Japan brands drop boyband agency after sex abuse scandal
TOKYO—Automaker Nissan and beer giant Kirin said Tuesday that they were dissociating themselves from Japan’s biggest boyband agency following revelations about sex abuse committed by its late founder for decades.
With their dazzling smiles and suave looks, boyband members made famous by Johnny & Associates have long been a ubiquitous fixture in TV commercials and posters for numerous companies.
Last week, the boyband empire admitted for the first time that founder Johnny Kitagawa had sexually assaulted young recruits over decades, before his death in 2019 aged 87.
Calling the abuse a “grave human rights issue,” a spokesperson for beer giant Kirin Holdings told AFP that it would not renew its contract with the firm.
“Our ongoing contract with Johnny & Associates will end upon expiration, and we will not implement any new advertisements or promotion campaigns,” the firm said.
It added that steps announced by the agency to compensate victims were not detailed enough and too slow.
Auto giant Nissan said it would also refrain from “developing new sales promotion materials using that talent agency until further notice,” on the grounds that its conduct “contravenes” the automaker’s guidelines on respecting human rights.
“It is extremely regrettable and must be taken seriously,” Nissan’s public relations office told AFP.
Major beverage manufacturer Suntory said in a statement that no new promotional tie-ups with the boyband agency will be struck until it is “sufficiently reassured that measures to save survivors and prevent a recurrence are duly in place.”
The Japanese arm of fast-food giant McDonald’s and brewing group Asahi have also decided not to renew their advertisement contracts, Japanese media reported. /ra